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Seventy Years of a Community of beaming 


Seventy Years of a Community of Learning 


Nancy Geyer Christopher, Ph.D. 

Social Studies, 1978-90 

The North Shore Country Day School 

Completed: 1990 
First Edition Printed: 1993 

The North Shore Country Day School 
310 Green Bay Road 
Winnetka, Illinois 60093-4094 

Seventy Years of a Community of Learning 


vii — Preface 

Background of the progressive education movement in Chicago in early twentieth 
century. The nature of this history. Acknowledgements. 

3 — THE MAN: Perry Dunlap Smith 

An understanding of the vision of the School demands an understanding of the 
founding headmaster who came out of the progressive education movement: his 
family background, the social activism in Chicago near the turn of the century 
which was an important part of his heritage and the impact of his own education at 
a Chicago public elementary school, at the Parker School in Chicago, at the Hill 
School in Pennsylvania, at Harvard College and in the Army during World War I. 

9 — THE SCHOOL: Concept and Reality 

A commentary on the founding of the School and its progressive heritage. 
Description of the campus. Beginning of school traditions. Question of college 
preparation. Advantages of a day school over boarding for young adolescents. 
Dealing with the conflict over educating the whole child vs. college entrance 
requirements. The findings of the Carnegie Study. The importance of parental 

17 — THE PARENTS: Partners and Co-Workers 

Perry Dunlap Smith's conviction of the importance of the role of parents in the 
education of their children and how that conviction was carried out in the context 
of the School. Description of the "country day plan" which arose out of parental 
concern. Founding of the School and the selection of PDS as Head. The 
philosophy of parental involvement. The great variety of parent projects in the 
School. Reflection on parent activities. NSCDS as a national model of parental 
involvement. The Alumni. 

35 — THE TWENTIES: A New Movement Seeks Expression 

School's perceptions of itself — school as principally a social institution — quote 
from John Dewey. Combining the "country day plan" with the theories of 
progressive education. Importance of community and health. Description of 
Morning Exercise program, of the tuition schedule, of curriculum, of die building 
program. Building community through creating traditions. Student organizations. 

67 — THE THIRTIES: Experimentation and Confirmation 

Reconciling progressive education with college preparation. Special attitude 
toward the child. Modified cooeducation. Preparation for college. The Eight-Year 
Carnegie Study and its influence. Teacher training and the Graduate Teachers 
College of Winnetka. Building a new lower school. The middle school. The opera 
in the '30s. The Depression years. Global affairs. School affairs in the face of 
world conditions. Parent communication. 

105 — THE FORTIES: Democracy and Discipline 

No longer the use of "progressive" in school literature but rather an emphasis on 
"individualistic," "realistic" and "family-centered." The "democratic ideal" in the 
face of the growth of large public schools and resulting age segregation. Training 
for democracy. Times of trial and some solutions. Bus program and boarding 
program. "War nerves." The Summer Service Corps. Impact of the war years. 
Twenty-fifth anniversary and reassessment. After the war. Global projects. The 
Experiment in International Living. European projects. Importance of discipline. 
Changes in college admissions. Life within the School. The Opera. The 
enrollment crisis. The day camp. Middle school. Child Study Group. New 
courses. Morning Exercise. The Langston Hughes affair. 

153 — THE FIFTIES: Time of Transition 

The word "progressive" once again enters the school literature, but coupled with 
the phrase "traditional preparatory methods." Admissions concerns: type of 
students and geographical draw. Global events and their impact on the School. 
The reading program. Special programs: eighth grade curriculum, boat building, 
field trips, the music program. Perry Dunlap Smith retires. Tenure of Nathaniel 
French begins. Building the new middle school. Campus projects. Enrollment 
expands. Other building projects. Curricular developments. Planning the future 
of the School. 

185 — THE SIXTIES: Rebuilding and Renewal 

Emphasis on "creative individualism" within an "interdependent society." The 
new decade brings with it new plans: to rebuild the campus, to revitalize the 
curriculum, and to renew the commitment to stimulate the individuality and 
creativity of each of its students. New ways of teaching are instituted: the reading 
program, social studies, introduction of anthropology at the high school level, 
vertical themes, seminars, modem math, geology, the seismograph, advanced 
study in modem languages, language lab, visual studies. The ideal of service: 
sense of community and responsibility. The Civil Rights Movement and its impact 
on the School. The May Project and the attempt to stimulate independent learning. 
Experiments with the module system and with sex education. Faculty changes. 
Death of PDS. Resignation of Nathaniel French. Search for a Headmaster. 


231 — THE SEVENTIES: Student Involvement 

School's role of integrating and organizing the disparities existing in society. 
Tutorial programs: students working with students. Traditions. The international 
journey. Arts festivals. The Buckminster Fuller visit. Curriculum evaluation. The 
new Headmaster. Enrichment workshops. Outdoor education. Interim Week. 
Music programs. Social issues. Jesse Jackson at NSCDS. The Vision Quest. 
Assessment. Search for a new Headmaster. 

269 — THE EIGHTIES: Challenge and Risk 

Enrichment, participation, tradition become key words. School Evaluation. 
Development program. Long Range Plan. Global awareness. Latin revived. The 
Writing Center in the middle school. Changes in grading system. Eunice Jackson. 
Summer programs. The science program. Alcohol awareness. Student diversity. 
Vin Allison retires. Vaudeville. Student activities. Lower school. Teaching Intern 
Program. Middle school. Building the new Library. Inaugural events. The 
International Children's Book Collection. The Harold H. Hines, Jr. Fellowship. 
Service. Social awareness. "Project!" Global experience. Facing AIDS. The Mural 
Project. The Piper brothers. Music at North Shore. ISACS Evaluation. Farewell. 

331 — Epilogue 

Overview of educational reform of the eighties. Reflection of the vision of Perry 
Dunlap Smith: parent collaboration, tying learning to the real world, education for 
democracy, restructuring schools, special needs of middle school students. 

Keeping the vision alive. 



So very difficult a matter is it to trace and 
find out the truth of anything by history. 


A good test of the health of a culture is the way it educates its young. But if we are 
to take seriously recent studies of American educational institutions, we as a 
society must admit to a rather unhealthy status. Fortunately, this failure is being 
recognized, and "educational reform" has become a key phrase of the final decade 
of the twentieth century. 

What has caused such malaise? To a great extent the problem of institutional 
education has had to do with its structure, modeled as it has been on the paradigm 
of the European academe, a model which had served well generations of middle 
and upper class Europeans. Such educational methods were right for the 
problems, and perhaps the students, of the past but irrelevant for the needs of a 
religiously, racially and culturally diverse democratic society of the present and 
future. Experiential involvement and cooperative exploration, not drone and drill, 
have been recognized for almost a century now to be a more effective way of 
teaching and learning. 

The drive for reform is not new, although many would so believe. The beginning 
of the twentieth century was alive with ideas for transforming the way schools lead 
children into adulthood. And Chicago at that time was the center of this activity. 
Two of the most notable educators in the nation were Francis Parker and John 
Dewey who, at their respective institutions in Chicago, promised a new way of 
teaching and learning and, in doing so, raised the hackles of the educational 
establishment. Their ideas and experiments came to be embodied in the 
progressive education movement which was to have repercussions for the rest of 
the century. 

What was the central vision of the movement? What prevented the transformation 
that was hoped for in the educational system at large? What were the strengths 
and weaknesses of the movement? What impact did it have on its students? Why 
did progressive education fall out of favor? And why is it again gaining positive 

As the twentieth century comes to a close, educators are continuing to seek better 
ways to educate the young. It is imperative to look back to these progressive 
education experiments to discover what of value can be carried into the new 

Parker and Dewey 

Francis Parker established his reputation at the Cook County Normal School, 
which prepared teachers for the Chicago school system in the late nineteenth 
century. His teaching methods drew the attention of a young Chicago matron, 
Anita McCormick Blaine, who chose to educate her own son under tine new system 
and was willing to build a school so that it could happen. The Chicago Institute 
and later the Francis W. Parker School were the result. Between Home and 
Community: Chronicle of the Francis W. Parker School, 1901-1976, edited by Marie 
Kirchner Stone [1976], provides an excellent overview. 

John Dewey at the University of Chicago and its Laboratory Schools was also a 
catalyst in this fermentation. In fact, Dewey and Parker worked together for a brief 
time, and Dewey later was to attribute to Parker the title of "Father of Progressive 
Education." That, too, is a fascinating story. The History of the Laboratory Schools: 
The University of Chicago 1896-1965 by Ida B. DePencier [1967] tells a good part of it. 

The North Shore Country Day School 

By the 1920s the excitement and impetus of the movement had moved north along 
the shore of Lake Michigan to the Chicago suburb of Winnetka. There, two school 
systems were growing up side by side, directly influenced by Francis Parker 
through two students of his who had become the educational leaders in the village: 
Carleton Washburne of the Winnetka Public Schools and Perry Dunlap Smith of 
The North Shore Country Day School. Both had arrived in Winnetka in 1919, each 
to undertake an administrative post. Until 1943 when Washburne left for overseas 
duty, the two men remained good friends and sometime-partners, often 
collaborating on educational projects. Washburne told the story in Winnetka: The 
History and Significance of an Educational Experience, written with Sidney P. Marland, 
Jr. [1963]. Such cooperation between public and private educational systems 
within a community was unique. 

There are some important ways, however, in which The North Shore Country Day 
School under Smith differed from the Winnetka system under Washburne. For one 
thing. Smith's system — kindergarten through grade 12 — was on one campus; the 
wide age span was integral to his philosophy. Washbume's system had three 
elementary schools and by 1922 a fourth — a junior high — each with its own 
campus. Another difference was that Smith approached education as an art. He 
worked intuitively, participating personally as a teacher for his entire career, 
always emphasizing art, music, drama and athletics for all. Washburne was more 
the scientist-administrator, conducting carefully monitored research and 
publishing prodigiously. He was interested in the different rates at which children 
developed, and he provided ways for each child on his or her own to proceed as 
fast or as slowly as that child was able. Smith, on the other hand, was concerned 
with keeping children with their age groups and enriching their advanced abilities 
within the group, while working to mature their slower developing aspects. While 


Washbume allowed for the uneven development between children. Smith was also 
concerned about the uneven development within the child. 

Smith welcomed and encouraged parent participation and involvement in the 
education of their children. Washbume, while concerned with educating his 
parents, would not have considered them "collaborators" as Smith did. In fact, by 
the early thirties, an opposition group of parents tried to remove Washbume from 
the Winnetka system. A number of members of the Winnetka School Board chose 
to send their own children to Country Day. For some reason. Perry Smith, as 
supportive as he was of Washbume and of progressive education, was less 
threatening to his constituency. What was the nature of this "tightrope" which 
both men walked. Smith perhaps a little more successfully? 

In a community which supported and continues to support both public and private 
systems committed to progressive ideals. Smith and Washbume and their heirs 
have had to walk a tightrope anchored at one end by their intense convictions 
about child development and at the other by equally intense parental aspirations 
for their children: time to grow versus the wish to be admitted to the most 
prestigious colleges. The balance was not always achieved. 

This study attempts to understand better what the progressive movement stood for 
as well as how progressivism was affected by conflicting attitudes toward it. 

Rather than attempting to analyze the movement as a whole, the research has 
focused on a case history of an individual school — The North Shore Country Day 
School — the vision which formed it, the personalities which guided it, the 
experiments which put their mark on it and the community which resulted from it. 

The study begins with the birth of the School in the early years of the movement — 
one generation removed from the "Father of Progressive Education" — and 
follows its evolution as it has attempted to live out its vision against the push and 
pull of history. What was experimental and often considered radical at the time of 
the School's inception in 1919 has become part of the "new thinking" of educators 
today in 1990 who decry the ineffectiveness of traditional, mainstream American 
institutions. The School incorporated ideas such as parent involvement, educating 
the whole child, cross-age integration, heterogeneous grouping, cooperation rather 
than competition, building community, creating intragroup bonding, innovative 
teacher preparation, faculty autonomy, training for democracy, alternative ways of 
learning and outdoor education. 

What becomes apparent in the study of a school like The North Shore Country Day 
School is that such an institution is driven by the vision of powerful individuals 
within the community. This study focuses on that vision as it is expressed by the 
voices of the past, voices whose presence enriched the School over seven decades. 
The study examines the ideals which inspired this vision as well as the weaknesses 
which sometimes limited its implementation. What becomes apparent is that 
education is as much the interaction of human beings, with all their foibles and 
idiosyncrasies, as it is the result of objective theories. 


Voices Speak Out of the Past 

The format of this story of a school has allowed the voices out of the past to speak. 
The primary one is that of Perry Dunlap Smith, the founding headmaster, who led 
the School from its beginning in 1919 until his retirement in 1954. Additional 
voices include other headmasters, faculty members, alumni, parents and friends. 

Each chapter begins with the School's statement about itself for that era: how the 
School wanted itself to be perceived by the public at large. These statements were 
taken from the School's promotional literature representative of each decade. At 
times the School took pride in acknowledging its participation in the 
progressive movement, at times went to great pains to explain what was meant by 
"progressive" as if concerned about the reader's interpretation, and at times 
ignored the label completely. 

The Nature of History 

History is a difficult matter, as Plutarch pointed out almost 2,000 years ago. Where 
is truth to be found? In written records? In first-person accounts? In memories? 

This history is certainly a weaving together of all of that: public news articles, 
yearbook text, old school newspapers, records from the village hall and the local 
historical museum and, most of all, memories of the participants. What one 
discovers, however, in trying to recreate the past is that memory is very selective. 
The reader will find some inconsistencies because memory is by its nature 

The most helpful sources for recreating the voice of Perry Dunlap Smith were the 
monthly bulletins, particularly Notes, which were published by the Parents' 
Association beginning in 1938. For sixteen years Perry Smith wrote a monthly 
cover essay to convey his philosophy of life as well as of education, to explain his 
experiments and to challenge his school community to take on the task of 
rebuilding the world in the face of global events. The School Bell and the Country 
Days were subsequent school bulletins. The Mirror (the school yearbook). The 
Purple and White (the school newspaper until its demise in the mid-sixties) and The 
Diller Street Journal (the student paper of the late eighties) were also very 
informative. Most helpful were the actual voices, undiluted by print, of those who 
engaged in personal interviews. 


A special thanks goes to the Talleys, Jean and Will, who devoted the better part of 
their lives to the School [1939-83] and who patiently guided an inexperienced 
teacher-historian in undertaking this monumental task. They warned me of the 
dangers; they helped me through the rough places; they cheered me on when I 


completed various stages; they edited portions for accuracy. My biggest regret is 
that they are not here to celebrate with me the completion of this history of their 
beloved School. 

A profound thank you also goes to Richard P. Hall [headmaster 1979-89], who 
recognized that a history is essential to the self-identity of an institution and held 
up to me the challenge to encounter the vision of Perry Dunlap Smith and to write 
about it. 

If I ever had illusions about authors creating alone, these illusions have been 
forever dispelled. I could never have brought this work to completion without the 
following dear friends and colleagues: 

Charles Haas '31, who put me in touch with that nostalgic time of the twenties and 
early thirties, and then stayed on to become my Virgil. He found me in the forest 
of those first chapters and became my guide through the Inferno and Purgatorio of 
the rest of this monumental journey. I could not have trod the path alone. 

Diane Janson [president of the Parents' Association, 1980-83, and director of 
marketing, 1987-1990], who shared with me those brief, but intense, discussions of 
educational theory when we would meet in the hallways of NSCDS — my grati- 
tude for her challenging questions and her incredibly patient and precise editing. 

Mac McCarty [athletic director, director of Day Camp, biology teacher and coach 
since 1947], whose phenomenal memory of people and events over the past forty 
years was not only helpful but essential. He also wrote an entertaining and 
thorough history of the athletic program which stands on its own and is key to 
understanding what makes The North Shore Country Day School special. 

Lorenz Aggens [geology teacher and business manager, 1955-66], whose 
reminiscences, interviews and extensive research on school traditions added such 
spice to the text. 

Virginia Deane '41 [faculty member, 1946-69], whose recollections as a student and 
faculty member as well as an alumna of the Graduate Teachers College of 
Winnetka, contributed much to the coherence to the academic story. Her long- 
distance advice at the editing stage was done with humor and insight, the qualities 
that made her a remarkable teacher at both North Shore and St. Paul's School in 
Concord, New Hampshire. 

Francis R. Stanton '27 [tennis coach 1972-87], Richard Hall [headmaster 1979-1989] 
and William Hinchliff '64 [director of alumni 1990-93], who waded through early 
drafts and gave such helpful advice on content, accuracy and style — and Francis 
Stanton again, who combed the final draft for any unintentional omissions. 

Nancy Jones Emrich [director of development 1981-92] and her husband, Jeffrey, 
who tackled the job of overcoming computer incompatibilities. 


Joan Palm Johnson '57 [coordinator of publications, 1988-1993], who designed and 
produced the camera-ready pages using Aldus PageMaker and a Macintosh SE 

Many students and alumni, who willingly gave time and thought to reconstructing 
their era in the NSCDS history. 

My colleagues at The North Shore Country Day School, who were models for me 
of excellence in teaching. They shared with me their memories and stories of the 
North Shore experience. They held lunch meetings to hear about and discuss the 
Perry Dunlap Smith philosophy. And, most of all, they were always supportive 
with their friendship and love. I learned from them what it means to be a part of a 
family school. 

A special group of past trustees, directors and faculty, who provided the initial 
funding of this history to foster this softback publication, complete with 
photographs, in conjunction with the 1994-95 celebration of the School's 75th 
anniversary. This fund and the profits from sales of this publication will fund an 
archives facility at the School. 

My husband Lawrence Christopher for the hours and hours of discussion on 
educational philosophy and history, for the early editing, for the patient listening 
to "just one more paragraph" and for the constant, loving, moral support. He 
probably now knows more about The North Shore Country Day School than he 
ever wanted to. 

And, finally, the Geyer kids, who spent their adolescence and early adulthood 
watching their mom analyze the school they attended and are now looking 
forward to the time she moves on in her life — just as they did — enriched and 
forever marked by an extraordinary education. 

Nancy Geyer Christopher 


Seventy Years of a Community of Learning 

Perry Dunlap Smith was the headmaster ofTlie North Shore Country Day School from the time of its 
founding in 1919 until his retirement in 1954. 


THE MAN: Perry Dunlap Smith 

The history of the world 

is but the biography of great men. 

Thomas Carlyle 

WINNETKA, ILL., Feb. 5 [1967] — Perry Dunlap Smith, a leader in the 
progressive education movement and headmaster of the North Shore 
Country Day School from 1919 until his retirement in 1954, died at his home 
here yesterday after a heart attack. He was 78 years old. Under Mr. Smith's 
guidance, the North Shore [Country Day] School became a model for 
progressive institutions over the country. 

Although never an advocate of sterile drill or mathematical markings, he 
was not a supporter of the "anything goes" school of progressivism either. 

He once was quoted as saying, "a child never respects a person he can walk 

Mr. Smith was for many years a member of the Headmasters Association 
and served as its president from 1944 to 1946. His colleagues in the 
association frequently referred to him as the "elder statesman" of 
progressive education and often consulted him, even after retirement. 

In later years Mr. Smith lectured widely and conducted special courses at 
the Franklin D. Roosevelt College in Chicago. Mr. Smith was bom in 
Chicago. He attended the Francis Parker School there and the Hill School in 
Pottstown, Pa. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1911 and 
received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Colgate University 
in 1939. 

He was a member of the board of overseers of Harvard University from 1940 
to 1946, a trustee of the Francis Parker School and a director of the Institute 
of Psychoanalysis. 

Surviving are his widow, the former Marian Baldwin, and four children: 
Hamlin Dunlap Smith of Agoura, Calif.; Mrs. Dorothea Ingersoll of 
Winnetka; Dr. Perry Dunlap Smith, Jr. of San Francisco, and Simeon 
Baldwin Dunlap Smith of New York. 

. . . So The New York Times sums up a man's life. 

A man bom near the end of the 19th century, who helps usher in a new form of 
education, gives birth to a school, keeps it vital and innovative for thirty-five years 
and then passes on. What difference does this whole endeavor make? 


To know Perry Dunlap Smith was to engrave on one's memory the image of an 
out-of-the-ordinary human being. 

Lynn Williams, Class of '25, remembered: 

In the beginning at this school, we who were students would see Perry 
Smith striding in his cape to Morning Exercise. In those days there was no 
music director, but he knew that the school needed music. So he led the 
singing. He would announce the name of the song and turn for an opening 
chord to the pianist who was also the girls' gym teacher. He lifted his hands 
and we all sang, perhaps "Men of Harlech in the Hollow" or ". . . as the 
caissons go rolling along." Whatever needed doing to make this the kind of 
school he wanted it to be, he did. 

We would meet him later in the day as tire teacher of our class in ancient 
history. In the late afternoon he was on the football field in uniform. He 
was needed there because there weren't enough of us to make a second 
team. So he was the fullback of the second team, the former fullback and 
captain at Harvard — and a terrifying thing it was for us. 

When it came time to put on a play, he was the drama coach. Some years 
later when we started with Gilbert and Sullivan, he was the coach here as 
well, telling one of his singers: "the Duke of Plaza-Toro has to be much 
more pompous. Let me show you." And he did. 

The School needed higher inspiration, so sometimes he read the Bible to us. 
He read crisply and clearly and without a Sunday voice. Sometimes he read 
from Genesis, more often from one of the Psalms and sometimes this: 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are 
honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, 
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; 
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these 

(Philippians 4:8) 

Family Background 

Perry Dunlap Smith was bom the eldest of five children to Dunlap Smith and 
Harriet Flower Smith in Chicago on December 16, 1888. According to Perry 
Smith's eldest son Hamlin, there is a family story which may or may not be true, 
that the Smiths went by covered wagon to Wisconsin in 1848, the year the territory 
was admitted to statehood. The westward movement was also accelerated by 
expanding railways. According to Hamlin Smith, railroad companies had 
unscrupulously brought European families into villages, then told them that in 
order to get supplies the villagers would have to pay exorbitantly high rates to 
have them brought in by rail. If a village wanted a railroad to go through, it would 


have to pay to have a bridge built. If the villagers could not afford the bridge, the 
railroad would route the train around the village and through another that would 
pay the cost. 

Perry Smith's paternal grandfather, so the family story goes, was sent by a group of 
farm families to the University of Wisconsin to study law. He is next heard of as an 
executive for the Chicago and North Western Railroad. It is said that he instigated 
the railroad's route up through the North Shore from Chicago to Milwaukee. 

Perry Smith's mother Harriet was the second child, the only daughter of Lucy 
Coues Flower, a remarkable social activist, who was bom in Boston about 1837 
(early records are not clear on this; she was adopted). As a young woman, Lucy 
went to Madison, Wisconsin, and found a position teaching high school. In 1862, at 
the age of twenty-five, she opened a private school and also married a young 
Madison attorney, James Monroe Flower. The Flowers had three children, 
including Harriet, before moving to Chicago in 1873. 

Social Activism 

In Chicago, Perry Smith's Grandmother Lucy became a close friend of Jane 
Addams and shared with her a special concern for poor, delinquent children. In 
1891 Lucy was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education and worked to 
improve teacher training and salaries. She also sought to make school programs 
more relevant to the city's poor. Grandmother Flower was largely responsible for 
a number of innovations: the introduction of kindergarten, manual training and 
sewing classes in the elementary grades, school bathtubs for tenement children to 
use, and a more effective compulsory attendance law which finally was put into 
effect in Chicago in 1897. 

Lucy Flower also became a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of 
Illinois, the first woman elected to a state office in Illinois. During the 1890s she 
worked for the creation of a juvenile court in Cook County, which was established 
in 1899, the first of its kind in the world. She worked as well with Julia Lathrop to 
found a women's Juvenile Court Committee to raise money for salaries for the 
probation officers. When she discovered that many nurses at Cook County 
Hospital were unqualified political appointees, Lucy Flower helped found the 
Illinois Training School for Nurses, the first in the city. 

In light of the foregoing, one might imagine that the conversations in the Smith- 
Flower family households were often focused on issues such as education and 
social awareness and concern. 


Education and its Impact 

Perry's father, Dunlap Smith, was involved in Chicago real estate and in that 
capacity was arranging the property transaction for the experimental school 
founded by Francis W. Parker. Dunlap Smith happened to be in the principal's 
office when the enrollment list was opened. The first name to go on that list was 
Perry Dunlap Smith. Then were added the names of two of Perry's brothers, Elliott 
and Lawrence. 

What a revelation it was to the Smith boys to experience the "new education" at 
Parker's Chicago Institute after five years, at least for Perry, of public school 
education at the Louis Nettelhorst School. At the public school, as Perry later told 
a Time magazine reporter, "we did everything by the numbers — opening desks, 
closing desks, picking up pencils." Those years at Parker's school may have been a 
rather heady experience. In class along with Perry were Katharine Taylor, later to 
become headmistress of Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and 
Herbert Smith, later a long-time principal of the Francis W. Parker School. One 
year behind Perry, in his brother Elliott's class, was Carleton Washburne, later the 
superintendent of the Winnetka school system, who was to attract worldwide 
attention as an educational innovator. 

Perry was a young adolescent when his maternal grandparents, the Flowers, 
moved to California because of the failing health of his grandfather. His own 
father died shortly after that, leaving his mother Harriet a widow with five young 
children to rear and educate. Perry's youngest sibling Hermon was just two years 
of age. One of Hermon's daughters, Adele Smith Simmons, recalled: 

While grandmother [Flower] was quite wealthy, Uncle Perry's own 

circumstances were very different They [Perry's family] had very little 

money and indeed were supported to a large extent by friends of the family 
who assisted them in a variety of ways. All of the boys attended Harvard on 
scholarships. I believe that members of our family would argue that the 
circumstances of having a father die while there were still very young 
children and the financial struggle that ensued made an enormous 
difference to everyone in the family. 

Perry went East to finish his secondary schooling at The Hill School in Pottstown, 
Pennsylvania. As much as he would have preferred to have remained with his 
family, as later becomes evident in his writings about the value of a day school 
over a boarding school, the experience of the single-sex boarding school provided 
an important point of reference. The Hill School was a traditional Episcopalian 
preparatory school. It was no secret to the Hill masters where he was coming 
from. Smith reminisced later to the Time reporter, "So you're one of those rule-by- 
love boys," snorted a master, probably to warn him he had better toe the line. 

But The Hill School, too, left its mark: a 1980s catalog features a photograph of the 
original building on a beautiful campus endowed with trees, shrubs and gardens. 
The caption underneath reads, "The School has long believed that good learning is 


enhanced when a student is surrounded by aesthetic beauty." This idea certainly 
became central to Smith's conception of The North Shore Country Day School 
campus and its relation to the students. The motto of The Hill School also strikes a 
familiar chord: "Whatsoever things are true." 

Perry went on to Harvard on a scholarship. He did not join an expensive eating 
club, but became a member of the Phillips Brooks House which focused on social 
service. He often went into Boston to work with underprivileged children. Also 
active in athletics, his 62 " broad-shouldered build helped lead him to success on 
the football field. During the summers he spent time with his family in a cottage in 
Charlevoix, Michigan, where he and his brother Elliott taught the youngsters skills 
in boating, trapping and nature study. All of these experiences would influence 
Perry's later life. 

Following graduation from Harvard, Perry spent a year as a master at The Hill 
School and then returned to Chicago where he spent several years teaching, 
coaching football and doing administrative work at The Francis W. Parker School. 
In the autumn of 1917 he married Marian Baldwin from the East and became the 
assistant principal at The Scarborough School up the Hudson from New York City. 

When the United States entered World War I, Perry joined the U.S. Army. His 
teaching skills soon became apparent and he was called upon to teach officers who 
dealt with recruits. According to his son Hamlin, Perry wanted to go overseas so 
badly that he volunteered for the artillery with the expectation that that would take 
him there. Instead, he was sent to Camp Lee, Virginia, and appointed Dean of the 
Infantry Officers' Candidate School. He always regretted not having gone 

Following the war Smith became educational director for the National City Bank in 
New York. This is where he was called upon by Charles Mordock from Winnetka, 
Illinois, to consider creating a new school which would combine progressive 
educational ideas with the country day school format. 

Mr. Mordock was persuasive, but for Perry the decision would not come easily. 
Before he could agree, several complications in the proposal had to be resolved. 


This aerial view shows the campus in the early 1960s. Knollslea Hall is gone. 


THE SCHOOL: Concept and Reality 

It has been said that history is writ in the biographies of great men. 
I am not so sure about this. Maybe history is the story of great 
institutions and, of all those institutions begun or inherited, 
only a few survive to have the qualities of greatness. 

Dr. Francis D. Moore '31 

So began a commencement address to the Class of 1962 by Dr. Francis D. Moore 
'31, who came to The North Shore Country Day School as a first grade pupil in 
1919. Dr. Moore went on to describe the origin of one of those special institutions: 

Winnetka in the fall of 1918 was enjoying the return of her men from the 
war. Many new families were moving out from Chicago or Evanston — or 
from the East — as business opportunities were so promising. The matter 
of education and new schools was very much in the air. 

Professor John Dewey had left the University of Chicago only a few years 
before — in 1904 — to go to Columbia to teach psychology and to tell his 
students about a new form of schooling that was being called "progressive 
education." The term and the fashion soon fell into disrepute. We all recall 
the cartoon showing the little girl arriving at school, saying to her teacher, 
"Miss Jones, do we really have to do only what we want to do today?" 

But despite this conversational discredit, the concepts of Dewey were here 
to stay. They stressed the growth of the individual's intellect from within 
rather than by superimposed dogma from without. These ideas 
revolutionized American teaching methods and attitudes. 

The Parker School 

The Parker School in Chicago had been founded in 1900, originally under 
the name of The Chicago Institute. The school was founded by Colonel 
Francis W. Parker, a . . . collaborator of Professor Dewey. Professor Dewey 
referred to Colonel Parker as "the father of progressive education." 

The first student enrolled at the Chicago Institute was a certain Perry 
Dunlap Smith 

The Parker School by 1918 was attracting widespread attention; it 
immediately came to prominence as an example of practical success in the 
theoretical ideas of Professor Dewey and Colonel Parker. 


Girton School for Girls 

In Winnetka there was a school named Girton after the women's college at 
Cambridge, England. This school was owned and operated by Francis King 
Cooke as a girls' preparatory school. It was the successor to an earlier boys' 
school called Rugby in Kenilworth, run also by Mr. Cooke. Two or three of 
the Winnetka parents who were active in the new school movement had 
attended the Rugby School. Many Winnetka residents felt that the Girton 
School needed a strong transfusion of new and vigorous ideas. It had lost 
its accreditation for admission to some of the eastern women's colleges 
such as Vassar and Bryn Mawr. It had come on unhappy days financially 
and made up its deficits from a farm alongside the Chicago & North 
Western railway tracks. 

Many of the Winnetka families wanted the new type of independent school. 
Others wanted to put their efforts into reforming the public schools which 
were very conservative at that time. There was quite a battle with many 
arguments both public and private between the two views. Working for 
the independent schools were many families well-known to The North 
Shore Country Day School, among them the Boals, the Wallings, the 
Mordocks, the Clarks, the Coffins, the Fentresses, the Scotts and the Ripleys. 

Search for a Headmaster 

Already knowing of Perry Smith, these parents went in search of a 
headmaster. Mr. Smith, then twenty-nine years old, had graduated eight 
years before from Harvard College. He had entered teaching and had 
taught for a while at the Francis Parker School as well as at a new school 
which was being started by a Mr. [Frank Arthur] Vanderlip in Scarborough- 
on-Hudson in New York. Then with the war, Perry Smith had joined the 

Army On leaving the Army in 1919, he had not found it easy to return 

to education. He was working at the National City Bank in New York when 
Charles Mordock came to visit him there. 

The group of founding parents asked Perry Smith if he would take over a 
post as a co-headmaster of the Girton School, working with Mr. Cooke. Mr. 
Smith came and studied the scene. He soon decided that this would not be 
a good working arrangement, that the school needed a completely fresh 
administrative arrangement and a new vision for its educational goals. 

A month or two later — this would be about May 1919 — Mr. Mordock 
again called Perry Smith and told him that now "the time had come." The 
parents had [made arrangements to lease the Girton School], and they 
wanted him to come and take it over as headmaster. They wanted him to 
unite on this campus the concepts of a country day school with those of 
progressive education as it then was understood. A great institution 
was bom. 


At this same time, traveling to the West Coast, the public school group 
under Laird Bell went in search of a [superintendent], and there they found 
Dr. Carleton Washbume. 

Neither of the parent groups realized that their two headmasters had been 
classmates together at The Chicago Institute under Colonel Parker and were 
old friends. In the next twenty years they were to provide a model for the 
whole country of private and public schools working together in a 
community to further the cause of education and to help the revolution in 
which Winnetka was a leader — a revolution now referred to as "the 
remaking of the schools." 

So, NSCDS took over Girton with Mr. Smith at the helm. Mr. Cooke's 
potato farm was still out there where the football field now is. The last 
potato was peeled, and the last cow was milked. Mr. Smith arrived in June, 
and in the fall of 1919 the first classes began. The youngest children there in 
1919 were some unwashed urchins and some more presentable lasses who 
later in 1931 were very proud to have been the first class to have gone 
through all twelve years of this school and then off to college. 

For all of us in that class, as I think for all of The North Shore Country Day 
School graduates, there was a real interest in education. We felt we had 
been in on a big thing — a big experiment — and that it was a huge success. 

It was up to us to help prove it." 

So ended Dr. Moore's commencement address which introduced the Class of '62 to 
the story of their school. 

Assessing the Campus 

When Perry Dunlap Smith arrived on campus that summer of 1919, he took stock 
of the buildings with which he had to work to start the new North Shore Country 
Day School. Five buildings were left by the Girton School for Girls. 

Dominating the campus both in size and in elevation was Knollslea Hall, reached 
by climbing brick-paved Diller Street from Center Street (now called Green Bay 
Road) up to the top of the hill. Across Diller Street to the north was Leicester Hall. 
To the west of Knollslea Hall was the gym and Eliot Hall, and at the western end of 
the campus was, appropriately enough. West Hall. 

Knollslea Hall 

Originally built in 1871 as a private fifteen-room home, Knollslea Hall had 
belonged to John Garland, Jr., a Chicago luggage manufacturer. There is some 
discrepancy on the date. Some sources say 1863, which would have placed the 
construction during the Civil War and thus have given credence to the story that 
the building was a way-station on the underground railroad. Unfortunately for the 


myth-makers, historical data gives greater support for the 1871 date. Construction 
was completed in 1874. The latter date was confirmed by the Winnetka Historical 

The location of the mansion was a sandy, treeless hill which, according to early 
Winnetka history, was the highest spot in the area along Lake Michigan from 
Chicago to Waukegan. John Garland's niece Susan wrote of visiting her uncle one 
summer and watching workmen dig into the hill near the house to bring up Indian 
artifacts and bones. Historical lore claims that the Garland home was located on an 
Indian burial mound, variously claimed to be Potawatomi or Miami. 

When William Talley joined the science faculty in 1943, he found native American 
artifacts in a display case in the science department in Dunlap Hall (built in 1922). 
They subsequently disappeared during a major renovation of the building in 1960. 
There is still some question about the nature of the use of this hill or knoll by the 
Indians prior to European settlement. 

Designed by John Christian Behrens, Knollslea was a magnificent structure built of 
natural concrete blocks made from grout lime mixed with sand and gravel from the 
shores of Lake Michigan. Mrs. Helen Joseph, the School's first public relations 
director [1950s and 1960s], wrote a description of this landmark building with the 
help of Frank Windes at the Winnetka Historical Society: 

The Garland home [later known as Knollslea Hall] had ornately decorated 
ceilings painted green and gold, a tower with windows through which the 
family could look out on Lake Michigan and fireplaces in every room as this 
was the only available source of heat. There was a porch around the east 
and south sides of the house and a green house with a southern exposure. 

Another information source revealed fourteen-foot ceilings and black 
marble fireplaces. 

According to Charles Haas '31, the story current among the lower school children 
of the twenties was that the glassed-in tower on Knollslea had been a lookout for 
raiding Indians. 

Knollslea's first use as part of the Country Day School campus was to house the 
boys' upper school and the lunch room. From 1919 until 1960, when the building 
was demolished, it saw many other uses: administrative offices, art library, music 
and art studios, and costume room. 

Leicester Hall 

Across Diller Street from Knollslea, Leicester Hall was first commented upon in a 
1911 Girton yearbook. The girls wrote of their excitement on moving into the 
newly-renovated dormitory in Leicester. Likely as not, it was named after an 
English college for women as was Girton. The building's first use as part of Perry 
Smith's new school was for the music studios and the apartments for single 


teachers. According to an early faculty resident, the men's quarters were on the 
second floor, the women's on the third. This building, too, served many uses over 
the years and still survived at the end of the century, albeit in a different location. 

The Gymnasium 

The gymnasium had been built for the Girton School, and it soon became apparent 
to the new North Shore physical education department that there were some 
serious deficiencies. Charles Mordock's son. Bud (Class of '22), remembered: 

One of the disadvantages of playing basketball at The North Shore Country 
Day School in the early days was the gym. Those of you who are familiar 
with the original gym recall that the baskets were there at the right height, 
but the ceiling was the wrong height, so you had to develop a special shot 
such as a lay-up in order to get a good basket. However, another thing 
about the gym was the fact that it wasn't wide enough to have any room on 
each side so you were continually crashing into the walls. Wrestling mats 
were usually strung up on the wall so that we didn't damage ourselves 
too much. 

But I well remember crashing into the wall, opening up a cut over my left 
eye — which didn't hurt at all, but which bled profusely — being taken out 
by the coach, the eye washed out, taped up again, and then returning to 
play amid the cheers of the home audience that I was so courageous. 

Like most gymnasiums of that era, this one had a stage at the south end that was 
used for dramatics and assembly programs such as Morning Exercise. Considering 
how chairs had to be put up and taken down daily. Perry Smith must have had 
some serious thoughts about the limitations of this situation. The building 
survived until 1963 when it was demolished to make way for the new art center. 

Eliot Hall 

A gray stucco two-story building with an English basement, Eliot Hall housed the 
kindergarten, elementary school and print and woodworking shops in its first 
years as part of the Country Day campus. Designed by Lawrence Buck, who later 
designed Roycemore School in Evanston, Eliot had been built in 1911 by the Girton 
School to serve as the lower school department. With its flat roof and starkly 
geometric frame, it looked strangely out of place among the other buildings on 
campus. Later it was to become North Shore's middle school after the new lower 
school building was built in 1938. 

In 1956, showing the effects of many years of middle school youngsters, Eliot Hall 
was tom down in one week by one man. His labor made way for a new middle 
school building. 


West Hall 

At the western edge of campus next to Forest Street was West Hall, thought to 
have been the coach house for the Garland estate. It was a funny-looking two-story 
wood frame building where Mr. Smith chose to locate the girls' upper school and 
administration offices. In the basement was the home economics department. The 
loft was a large, open space used for a variety of purposes: study hall for upper 
school students, the original assembly hall before it was moved to the gym, and the 
meeting space for late night faculty meetings. West Hall met its demise in 1937 to 
make way for a more fitting lower school building. 

Such were the five buildings that provided the setting for the new country day 
school, the first in the Chicago area. Each structure was unique, but adaptable. To 
this day the mere mention of their names evokes memories for many. 

First School Catalog 

A booklet describing the School was published in 1920-21 and printed in the print 
shop by upper school classes. This first School catalog expressed the philosophy of 
North Shore and listed the instructors, tuition and courses of study. In addition, 
there are full-page photographs of the administration building (West Hall), the 
gymnasium, Eliot Hall and the grounds. 

A beautiful campus was integral to the "country day plan" which called for a 
school just outside the city where students could have contact with nature. The 
1920 booklet in describing the campus stated, "The grounds, with beautiful old 
trees, masses of shrubbery and stretches of lawn, provide ideal surroundings for 
child development." Many of the trees on the campus at that time had been 
planted by the Garlands who had imported maple and copper beech from Europe. 

Lynn Williams '25, at the memorial service for Perry Dunlap Smith in 1967, 
remembered Mr. Smith's leading the students out of their classrooms one of those 
early years for a special task: 

One spring day he led us out with shovels and rakes for the first "dig day" 
among the big trees behind the old buildings, all but one of them gone now. 

He must have thought it was good for our characters and good for our 
souls, but mostly it was one more thing which needed to be done, to clean 
up and to plant some new trees." 

Dig Day thereafter became an annual tradition, albeit with a spotted history; some 
years there were two Dig Days (or Work Days — one in the spring and one in the 
fall), some years only one and some years none. Faculty throughout the years 
would get angry over the seeming waste of time and lack of organization. 

By the 1980s, Work Day (as it became known) occurred once a year, in the fall, and 
its organization was tightened up considerably. Seniors still planted tulip bulbs 


with their kindergarten partners as they had for many years. Refreshments were 
still served, ice cream bars instead of the earlier ice cream cones. The whole 
School's attack on the campus with rakes and leaf bags would be annually 
recorded by art department head John Almquist. This video tape would be edited 
and put to music for a cold winter day's Morning Ex. Another 1980's innovation 
was the dispersal of upper school students and faculty, after the campus was 
cleaned, to the surrounding communities to rake the yards of the elderly. 

After Perry Dunlap Smith's day, students no longer did the planting or cutting 
down of trees. As the 1980s business manager commented: "This would be an 
insurance agent's nightmare." Tree planting and removal came to be done 
professionally, with the resulting loss of valuable experience to the students. 

One other story about the development of the early campus reveals the enthusiastic 
creativity with which Perry Smith approached the environment of his students. 

His colleague and friend, Carleton Washbume, superintendant of the Winnetka 
school system from 1919 until 1943, told the story in his book, Winnetka: The History 
and Significance of an Educational Experiment. 

The setting was a dinner party in 1920, the book relates, shortly after the two 
young men had come to the village to head their respective schools. Edward 
Yeomans, the Winnetka schoolboard member who had recommended Washbume, 
was the host. The guests included Washbume, Smith, their wives, and a young 
couple, Carmelita and Theodore Hinton. (Carmelita Hinton later would found 
Putney School, a progressive secondary boarding school in Vermont.) 

That evening Theodore Hinton described to Smith and Washbume an idea 
inspired by a bamboo climbing frame his father had built while the family lived in 
Japan. The father, a mathematician, believed that if his children had the experience 
of climbing on cubes with X, Y, and Z intersecting poles, they would be able to deal 
with the third dimension in mathematics. When the children were playing, the 
father would call out an intersection — for instance, X3, Y2, Z4 — and the children 
would be expected to visualize it on the frame and then scramble around to reach 
it. But the most fun for the children was simply climbing, hanging and swinging 
from the poles. Hinton planned to build a similar structure in his own backyard. 

Washbume and Smith immediately saw its potential as a piece of playground 
equipment and subsequently spent many hours at the Hinton home working 
together with Hinton on a design for it. The first crude structure, made of iron 
pipes, was built on the campus of Country Day. There were flaws which had to be 
worked out, and a better-designed frame became part of the playground 
equipment at Horace Mann School. This was the beginning of the Jungle Gym. A 
manufacturing company was incorporated by Hinton shortly afterward to produce 
the frames for school use. They can now be found all over the world, but the first 
one was at The North Shore Country Day School. 


In addition to the philosophy and the program of the School, the campus was — in 
the beginning, and continued to be seventy years later — an integral part of the 
School's identity, the first attribute new visitors noticed, and often a strong selling 
point for potential parents and faculty. 

The Early Days 

Lynn Williams '25 recalled the first years: 

The School must have been poor then, though none of us who were 
students knew it or thought about it. For the young headmaster these must 
have been difficult times, but surely also they were the best of times. 

One day we learned that Mr. Price, the science teacher, was leaving the 
School. Between classes and after classes we conjured up explanations. We 
thought perhaps he had been fired because we suspected that he smoked, 
although we had never seen him do it. We felt better when we learned that 
he was going to St. Louis to become the headmaster of its Country Day 

Since then [these reflections were recorded in 1967] eighteen more men 
have gone from this School to be headmasters elsewhere. And all of those 
we knew were as different, one from another, as any men could be. 

If Perry Smith in those days was becoming a leader of a movement in 
education, we didn't know it. To us he was merely trying to make this the 
best School his mind and energy could embrace. He was as astonished as 
he was pleased when the School he was building began to get the attention 
of leaders of education elsewhere; astonished when he was chosen 
president of the headmasters association [1944-46] and when elected to the 
board of overseers of Harvard [1940-46]. 

For Perry Smith, another vital aspect to creating a successful school was to ensure 
that parents play a key role. This element was often underestimated — although 
seldom for long — by new parents. They soon came to realize and to appreciate 
the fact that the School's philosophical and educational principles require parental 


THE PARENTS: Partners and Co-Workers 

I know of no other school (and I see a great many every year) in which 
the parents seem to understand so completely the value as well as 
the necessity of their active participation in the school's work. 

. . . [It] is a conviction that parents and homes are necessary in 
the lives of growing children and are just as vital a part of 

their education as are schools and teachers 

Perry Dunlap Smith 

As someone who lost his own father while still an adolescent. Perry Dunlap Smith 
had a particularly poignant perspective on the importance of parents in the lives 
and education of children. At a time when psychologists were questioning the 
value of separating adolescents from their homes and families for the sake of 
college preparatory studies. Perry Smith was sent from his home in Chicago to 
finish his secondary education at an eastern boarding school. He came out of the 
experience placing special value on the importance of family life for adolescent 
development and with great appreciation for the significance of parents in the 
whole educational process. 

Parents Create a School 

Dr. Francis Moore's 1962 Comencement address (quoted in the chapter "The 
School") explained that in the second decade of the twentieth century there was 
great concern among the parents of Winnetka over what they considered to be an 
inadequate public school system. Two major opinions emerged from the intense 
discussions. One option was to create an excellent public system that would be 
comparable to most private schools in existence at that time. The other option, 
very appealing to parents considering boarding school for their youngsters at the 
high school level, was a new idea called the "Country Day Plan." 

The Country Day Plan 

It is important to understand the beginning of the Country Day Plan in order to 
appreciate the significant role of the parents in the history of North Shore. Around 
the turn of the century there was a growing awareness among parents and 
psychologists that it was healthier for adolescents to be with their families and to 
experience the give-and-take of daily life across generation lines and with siblings 
than to be sent away to boarding school. 

A Baltimore mother, Elizabeth Carey, with the help of Johns Hopkins University 
President, Daniel Coit Gilman, in 1897, had come up with the idea of building a 
school in the country, near the city limits, easily accessible to public transportation. 


but in an area where youngsters could have close contact with nature. The 
children would spend a good part of their day studying, playing, eating and 
interacting with their peers and teachers and still be able to return to their homes 
for the evening meal and family life. 

The intention was to preserve the best of the boarding school (high academic 
standards, quality athletic program, and esprit de corps ) without losing the 
benefits of a loving home. So successful was the concept that by the 1940s there 
were several hundred country day schools throughout the United States. 

Once the decision had been made in 1919 to create a country day school in 
Winnetka, the choice of a headmaster seemed to evolve spontaneously from the 
parents who were on what was then an advisory board (forerunner of North 
Shore's Board of Directors). The chairman of the Board was Charles T. Mordock 
who, with his good friend Edwin Clark, used to spend vacations at a summer 
home in Charlevoix, Michigan, along with a number of other Winnetka families. 
Kay Mordock Adams '21, her brother John (Bud) Mordock '22 and their friend Bob 
Clark '21 recalled those times. Bud related some of the details: 

Back when Kay and Bob and I were wee small children, we used to spend 
the summer up at Charlevoix at the Chicago Club where my Grandfather 
Bayley had a house. Right in back of our house was a cottage in which the 
Smith family spent their summers. In the Smith family residing right 
directly behind us were two young men of college age, Perry Dunlap Smith 
and Elliott Dunlap Smith. These two people were instrumental in teaching 
us the rudiments of how to make a trap to catch rabbits and squirrels. 

Well, they put Animal Crackers in at night so we'd catch the Animal 
Crackers, but ostensibly these were the boy scout's methods of catching 
small game. They were very helpful. They taught us a great deal and in 
due course of time Elliott Smith, who later became chancellor of Pittsburgh 
University, took Bob and me off and taught us to canoe and to camp. 

We would get out of our family's hair, taking the sailboat, the motorboat 
and a canoe way down to a lot which Mr. Clark purchased on Pine Lake, 
now Lake Charlevoix, and we would camp there, returning occasionally to 
get supplies and then get out of our family's hair for another couple of 
weeks. We also had a sailboat which we raced and they taught us how to 
sail, which as far as I was concerned became a lasting hobby. 

So, when it came time to select a headmaster for the School, it was only 
natural that since our parents were part of the operation in starting this 
school, that they would think of Perry Smith who had gone on from 
teaching us children how to make animal traps to become an instructor in 
military tactics during the war, taught at the Parker School and other places, 
and was at that time developing his own theory of how to conduct a school. 

For this reason the Board of Trustees selected Perry Smith to be our first 
headmaster. Incidentally, as my sister told me to say, many of the 


discussions regarding who was to run the School and how it was to be 
financed took place on our front porch. Or rather I should say, on the side 
porch which was large enough to contain fifteen or eighteen people in a 
session and was delightful in the summer — before all of us had air- 
conditioning — when we enjoyed the breezes from the lake. 

The parents' role in the School was fundamental right from the beginning. 

Philosophy of Parent Involvement 

One of the themes of the School which Perry Smith would reiterate repeatedly 
throughout his tenure as headmaster was that the parents are "co-workers in, 
rather than just owners and directors of, the enterprise. They are colleagues or 
collaborators in this all-important task of helping young people achieve full 
emotional maturity. . . . From the first, ours has been a 'parent-centered' as well as 
'child-centered' school. This is an essential principle of a school's good health." 

In support of this philosophy, three organizations of parents evolved during the 
history of the School: the Advisory Board (later called the Board of Directors and 
still later Board of Trustees), the Parents' Association and the Woman's Board. The 
Advisory Board in 1919-20 was a group of eight fathers. Over the years the Board 
has grown, both in number and diversity. By 1990, the Board of Trustees 
numbered twenty-six, of whom eight were women. 

The Parents' Association was founded at the very beginning of the School, 
apparently by Willoughby Walling, after whom the lower school building was 
named, and Hester Howe, who had the distinction of having at least one of her five 
children in the School every year from its founding in 1919 until 1941 when her 
youngest child, Warren, graduated. (Subsequently, a number of her grandchildren 
were students.) 

The NSCDS Parents' Association was not part of the Parent Teacher Association. 

In contrast to the growing PTA movement, started in 1897, the school community 
of the 1920s believed that the parents should stand on their own in relation to the 
faculty; neither should be swallowed by the other. 

Walling used the analogy of the triangle to indicate the role of the parents in 
relation to that of the faculty and students. The strength of the triangle, he used to 
say, is essential to architecture and engineering. Each side — students, faculty, 
parents — is connected to the others. Together they offer the strongest form in 
building. "The strength of the whole depends on the ability of each to fulfill its 
appropriate function," he stressed. 

Smith, a master at creating community, believed it was essential for students, 
faculty and parents to exercise their appropriate functions in the context of affinity. 
He used to say that the major advantage of a country day school was the close 
association with the home throughout the formative years. He delighted in 


Walling's reference to parents as "the faculty in charge of home dormitories." Both 
men recognized the importance of "dormitory faculties" consulting with each other 
as well as with classroom faculties so they could coordinate their efforts. "In the 
world of today/' Smith wrote in 1945 in an issue of Notes (the monthly bulletin 
published by the Parents' Association), "when we face greater problems of 
community living and interdependence than ever before, the need of such 
understanding relationships is correspondingly greater." 

Financial Involvement of the Parents 

In order to understand the financial involvement of the parents, one must go back 
to the first few years of the School. No one was certain just how successful it 
would be. Perry Smith later described to Charles Haas '31 that five parents had 
each guaranteed to give $5,000 a year for four or five years, and that was the basis 
on which the staff was hired and operations begun. Obviously this money was for 
any deficit over and above tuitions and other voluntary contributions. The campus 
and buildings were rented from Francis King Cooke who had run the earlier Girton 
School for Girls. 

The 1928 Mirror (school yearbook) described what happened next: 

In about three years the School had grown strong enough so that it was felt 
advisable to buy the property on which it now stands, provided money 

could be found Part of the money was provided by a mortgage on the 

land and buildings, and the rest was loaned by parents having children in 
the School. The corporation, which is the business body of the School, gave 
these parents who loaned it money an acknowledgment of its debt to them 
and its promise to repay it. This acknowledgment is what is sometimes 
called a note and other times a debenture, and those who received them are 
called debenture-holders. . . . They are the members of the corporation." 

An early brochure, "Information for Parents," published during the 1929-30 school 
year and used during the 1930s, described the financial organization of the School. 
Incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois as "a corporation not for profit," 
the School was controlled by a Board of Directors elected by the parent members of 
the corporation. A subscription fee of $100 per child per year (over and above 
yearly tuition) was meant to be considered "a membership investment, rather than 
an additional expense." 

Mr. Smith always made it clear in a discrete way that the subscription could be 
waived where it would work hardship, and extra subscriptions would be 
purchased by families who could afford it. In the fall following the graduation of 
each student, the debentures matured and were paid back to the parents. 

In January 1947, however, a drive was initiated to rid the School of what had 
become an oppressive debt; an executive committee was formed, headed by school 
parent Roy Walholm. "Let us be debt-free" was the slogan. The goal was $250,000 


to wipe out the mortgage and debenture indebtedness. The drive was so 
successful, thanks in great part to the loyalty and friendship of parents, that by the 
end of March that same year the amount pledged exceeded $275,000. 

Parents were also encouraged to subscribe to the annual scholarship fund. Perry 
Smith continually stressed the importance of maintaining a democratic cross- 
section of students. In fact, he insisted when he accepted the headmastership that 
the student body not be limited to the wealthy who could afford the tuition. The 
scholarships were intended to democratize the student body, at least economically, 
if not — in those early years — racially and ethnically. The program was also 
intended to ensure that children whose parents suffered financial reverses could 
stay and graduate with their class. 

Smith's sensitivity to students with financial need was likely sharpened by his own 
family situation. His father died when Smith was an adolescent, and he was 
educated at Harvard on scholarship. 

Parent Grade Meetings 

In the beginning, meetings with parents in groups according to their children's 
grade provided the basis of a relationship with parents that Mr. Smith considered 
so essential to a healthy school. The early monthly bulletins published by the 
Parents' Association give an indication of the many meetings which Smith must 
have attended each month. He considered the grade meetings the heart of the 
Parents' Association. 

The meetings provided the opportunity for twenty to thirty parents to come 
together several times each year to "consider problems common to all the children 
in the group." Smith felt that it was the best sort of adult education because it 
provided the ideal conditions of true learning: when energies are focused on "a felt 

The parent groups were small enough to promote free discussion but large enough 
to prevent them from becoming too personal. No votes or resolutions were ever 
passed; there was freedom from coercion. Smith felt that the discussions could 
provide background for individual parents, who could then make their own 
decisions. "The time for authoritarianism, either at home or at school is over," 
Smith wrote in a 1949 Notes, "Our modem world calls for the closest collaboration 
we can possibly give." 

Often the topics discussed at these grade meetings dealt with curricular matters 
and teaching methods. It was not unusual, however, to take up rather sensitive 
issues such as parties held in the absence of parents and the use of alcohol. In 1948 
the upper school students were getting very suspicious of these grade meetings, 
and Mr. Smith had to assure them that their parents weren't police. In fact, he 
addressed a special notice to the youngsters in one of his monthly essays in Notes, 
which he discovered they had been reading. The students feared their parents 


would pass rules and regulations binding in each home, but Smith assured them 
the intention of the meetings was to search for "ways and means for working out a 
more successful and satisfactory method of conducting their relations with their 

He suggested that grade chairmen open their ears for the most pressing problems. 
Possible topics suggested for middle school and upper school parents were 
allowances, automobiles, smoking, bedtime hours, help with homework, "going 
steady," open houses and social standards; for lower school parents such issues as 
discipline, habit training, remedial reading, concentration, teaching of the three R's, 
and training for honesty and courage. 

Notes mentioned in its January 1950 issue that the tenth grade parents had 
discussed proper and safe regulations for driving automobiles; the third grade 
parents debated newer methods of discipline; and the kindergarten and first grade 
parents talked about building healthy attitudes toward reading. 

The January 1954 issue had a brief article describing a project conducted by the 
senior class parents concerned about what employers looked for in young people 
who applied for positions. Four of the fathers, who were involved in businesses 
themselves, conducted a panel discussion dealing with this question. Not only the 
parents, but the seniors and also the faculty were invited to attend. When word 
spread about the coming discussion, interest became so great that people outside 
the school community asked to attend. Among them were an officer from 
Glenview Naval Air Station and several graduate students from the 
Northwestern University School of Commerce. 

Not the widespread phenomenon it is today, adult education was one of the most 
positive aspects of the grade meetings. It provided. Smith believed, an opportunity 
for people to come together to deal with a problem which they all shared in 
common. At one point he had to remind the parents that when he referred to 
"adult education" it shouldn't be confused with Americanization classes, which 
was what adult education usually meant in those days. Smith gave the following 
advice in his article about the grade meetings in the January 1950, Notes: 

Certainly no grade meeting should be called unless there is a problem to 
discuss which is real to the parents of the grade. No parent should be urged 
to attend purely from a sense of duty to his child or from loyalty to the 
School, but rather because of the result to the parent himself and the help it 
may give him in learning to understand his child's nature and problems. 

Smith suggested adopting some techniques used at the School of Social Studies in 
San Francisco, which involved reading certain books or articles together and then 
discussing them. Later in North Shore's history, periodic study/discussion groups 
of parents were based more or less on this model. What seems so commonplace 
since the '60s was experimental in those days. 


Parent Committees 

Perry Smith considered the parents as co-workers, not as observers and critics. He 
believed that they had intelligence and skills which would be valuable for making 
the School work and that their participation in the daily life of the School would 
lead to increased intimacy with their children. Parent committees were established 
which placed parents in the role of colleagues and collaborators with the teachers 
and administrators. 

The parents came to the rescue in the autumn of 1919 when the opening of the 
School was delayed because of "difficulty in securing labor to put the buildings 
and grounds in shape," Smith reminisced in a 1944 Notes. When it became obvious 
that the School would not be ready in mid-September, the fathers, helped by their 
sons, gave up their weekends to work on the grounds. One of the most onerous of 
the jobs was cleaning out rubbish in the old buildings of the former Girton School 
for Girls. The mothers "put on Red Cross work uniforms packed away since the 
armistice" and washed windows and scrubbed floors. What made this activity 
rather noteworthy was that many of these families had maids and gardeners at 
home doing the kind of work which the parents were willing to do for the School. 

There continued to be a House Committee for many years to beautify and improve 
the school buildings and grounds. The Volunteer Interest Sheet for the mid-80s, 
however, no longer listed this committee. For a number of years, Florence Weiss 
was in charge of furnishings for the Headmaster's house and other campus 
buildings, using funds allocated to her by the Parents' Association. In 1978 the 
Woman's Board developed the Master Landscaping Plan to beautify the campus in 
memory of Rosemarie K. Smith, wife of an alumnus and mother of three NSCDS 
alumni. Mrs. Smith (no relation to P.D.S.) had been president of the Woman's 
Board prior to her death. Mary Pick Hines '49 has been in charge of the 
landscaping project since its inception. The on-going maintenance of the School is 
now under the auspices of the Board of Trustees and handled by its Buildings and 
Grounds Committee under the care of George Mitchell, Director of Maintenance 

Other committees of the Parents' Association, listed in a 1948 Notes and no longer 
in existence in the 1980s, were the Art Library Committee, the Faculty Teas 
Committee and the Notes Committee. The Art Library Committee cared for and 
indexed art books and framed and hung prints and pictures for special exhibits 
throughout the School. The Art Library was housed in the drawing room of the 
old Knollslea Hall (a Victorian mansion and oldest building on campus at the time) 
which was razed in 1960. 

The Faculty Teas Committee was in charge of developing cordial and cooperative 
relationships between parents and faculty by sponsoring six teas a year in the Art 
Library. These teas were held on Thursdays after school. The Notes Committee 
was charged with the publication of the monthly bulletin. For many years Ruth 
Eldredge, mother of the School's third headmaster, George Eldredge '41, edited 
this bulletin. [The bulletin, established in 1938, was published under the title of 


Notes until 1966, when it became known as the School Bell. In 1970 School Bell was 
superseded by Country Days.] The Publicity Committee was responsible for 
writing a column of school news regularly for the local paper. This job was taken 
over in 1953 by the School's first public relations director, Helen Joseph. 

Other committees in 1948, in job description if not in exact name, were the Office, 
Costume, Lunch, Athletic and Morning Exercise Committees. The Steering 
Committee provided a liaison between faculty and new parents; it seemed to have 
performed the same function as the room chairmen in the '80s. 

Prior to 1953 there was no professional librarian. The libraries of the School 
depended solely on the commitment of parent help, specifically that of mothers. 
Again, in 1960, with the sudden death of Mrs. Stephanie Wishart, the professional 
librarian who had been with the School since 1953, the help of the parents became 
crucial. Anne Burnham Strong '34, whose husband, son, and, later, great nephew 
all graduated from the School, took on the role of librarian from 1960 until 1969. 
Elizabeth Johnson, whose son and grandchildren graduated from the School, also 
was very important to the library. Parents used to say that for the work they had 
done, they deserved a diploma themselves! 

School fathers were members of the Athletic Committee. They held periodic 
"smokers" (a sign of the times that would be gasped at today!) with Perry Smith 
and the physical education faculty. The committee's main purpose during the late 
1940s was locker room improvement and, in the winter, operating the ice skating 
rink created in 1946 on the athletic field. 

A committee was established in 1955 to build school enrollment. In a February 
1956 Notes, Headmaster Nathaniel French described the committee, calling it the 
"Introduction Committee." Its purpose was to introduce the School to families 
whose children might become students. French pointed out that at one time this 
type of active recruiting was "unnecessary and undignified, but the school 
population was no longer stable." He noted that about half of the families were 
now moving out of the community every five years. (In those days a much higher 
proportion of the students came from Winnetka and the surrounding suburbs. In 
the mid-1980s the School was losing ten to twelve students per year due to change 
in residence.) 

Statistics indicated, French said, that of the twenty students entering first grade, 
only one was left in tenth grade. (In the mid-1980s the number of "lifers," students 
who have come through the NSCDS system from junior kindergarten through 
twelfth grade, was five in 1985, three in 1986 and six in 1987, but none by 1989. 
[This was a fluke; in 1990 there were three again.] By 1990 the School still had a 
long-term relationship with many families in spite of the overall change in 

In response to Mr. French's concern regarding student recruitment, a series of 
living room meetings was held during the 1960s and a handbook published with 
the most-often asked questions, coordinated by school parent Virginia Lunding. 


Living room gatherings, hosted by school parents, were again tried in the mid- 
1980s for prospective parents, but with very little success. Parents of the 1980s 
preferred to come to the School itself. 

A Standards Committee was created during the late 1950s, which, according to 
Nathaniel French in the November 1959 Annual Report, wrote a booklet of 
recommendations to help provide a better social climate. A school parent of five 
children, Henrietta Boal Moore '33, remembered the often heated discussions 
among the parents on the committee. The most difficult problem between parents 
and their teen-aged children during the 1950s, she recalled, was the use of alcohol, 
especially at unchaperoned parties while parents were on trips. Mr. French 
pressured the athletes to deter the use of alcohol among their classmates, but many 
parents felt that was unfair. Besides, according to some alumni of that era, the 
athletes were among the chief offenders! 

It was obvious that there was need for more parental responsibility, hence the 
establishment of the Standards Committee. The parent committee worked on the 
booklet for almost a year. Mrs. Moore felt the booklet itself was valuable; even 
more significant, however, was the contact among the parents as they tried to sort 
out the social guidelines with which they and their children could live. [Incidently, 
Mrs. Moore returned to the School in the mid-1980s to present a Morning Ex on her 
part in the Grey Panther Organization and its work to protect the rights of senior 

Parents' Association Activities 

"Senior Stunts," an event of happy memory, was a performance created by the 
parents of the graduating class and presented each year during graduation week. 

It provided the perfect opportunity for the parents to "rib" their teenagers. The 
event took place as part of a senior luncheon held in the activities room, to which 
the seniors and their parents were invited. After lunch everyone would go to the 
auditorium where "Senior Stunts" and the "singing up of the classes" would 
take place. 

The parents had spent weeks preparing their production. Some years the program 
was better organized than others. There were years when the skits had the finesse 
of a Broadway extravaganza, complete with parent-created lyrics to Gilbert and 
Sullivan music. Comedic creativity reached new heights with a film in 1964 
produced by two school fathers, Francis Stanton and Jon Strong. The idea was 
picked up again in 1969 with another film by Susan Breuer and Margery 
Philipsborn. Both films were masterpieces of visual comedy. But after fifty years 
of such theatrical endeavors, "Senior Stunts" became too much. Given the pace of 
modem life, the parents of more recent years were overwhelmed by the amount of 
time and energy that went into its production. Taking its place since the 1970s was 
the Senior Barbeque. This was a more low-key celebration which continued one 
element of "Stunts," the slide program of the graduates' baby photos put together 
with comic commentary by the parents. 


In addition to the committee work, there were a number of other activities 
sponsored through the years by the P.A. There was an attempt in the Notes of 1942 
to establish a dialogue among parents regarding issues of concern. The proposal 
stated that: 

It might be very helpful at times if parents of older children who have 
passed through certain phases and difficulties meet about a "Round Table" 
with parents of younger children who are about to meet with these same 
situations. Through the medium of the Notes, the parents' publication of 
the School, it is hoped that this column will serve as such a "Round Table." 

The first such column, titled "Round Table," dealt with the problem of allowance. 
The correspondents signed themselves "A Lower School and College Father," "A 
High School and College Father," "A High School and College Mother." There 
were only two more "Round Table" columns and then, unfortunately, a good idea 
disappeared from memory. 

In 1955 there was a series of upper school parties sponsored by the P.A. and run by 
the Student Council. The parties were held in the old gym, the building 
constructed near the tum-of-the-century as part of Girton School for Girls and then 
demolished in 1963 to make way for the Art Center. These were the days when all- 
school parties and dances were held on campus. There was plenty of food and 
music; ballroom dancing was popular at that time. Many of the parents came, as 
well as most of the upper school students. Collaboration between the parents and 
students worked. 

Continuing Educational Concerns 

After the retirement of Perry Dunlap Smith as Headmaster in 1954, the grade 
meetings seemed to fade from the calendar, but there continued to be concern for 
parent education. Opportunities for learning became more formalized. 

In October of 1955 a course entitled "Parenthood in a Free Nation" was offered to 
the parents. It was modeled after the study-discussion techniques developed by 
the Parent Education Project of the University of Chicago under a Ford Foundation 
grant. There were eight meetings, of two hours each, dealing with the essential 
characteristics of mature, responsible citizens of a free democratic society. The 
Notes of October 1955, said that the course included "basic concepts of human 
development and questions fundamental to a philosophy of education and child- 
rearing." Readings were suggested for each meeting. The faculty leader was 
David Jackson, head of lower and middle schools from 1954 to 1957. 

In the 1975-76 school year, the Brown Bag Discussion Series was set up for parents 
and met once a month at noon on the North Shore campus. The purpose was to 
"familiarize parents with school philosophy and to offer professional speakers in 
related fields." Douglas MacDonald, the headmaster at the time, opened the series 
by addressing the topic of "Parental Guidelines at NSCDS." During the six-part 


series, the Art and English departments gave presentations, and other sessions 
were led by experts in the field of psychiatry and psychology: Dr. Marvin Schwarz 
(psychiatrist and school parent), Alicerose (Sissy) Barman (lower school child 
development specialist [1984-present]) and Dr. Lenore Hartman. 

In the lower school an Educational Volunteer Program was started by the parents 
in the fall of 1975. The renovation of the lower school kitchen was finished in 
November of that year, and the Educational Volunteers helped the kindergartners 
and first graders plan a Thanksgiving meal, prepared and served at School. 

Among the other activities of the Educational Volunteers that year were making 
early American costumes for the Christmas celebration and planning lower school 
Morning Exercises with a Bicentennial focus. 

In the spring of 1977 Dialogue Meetings were started with Dr. Mary Giffin of the 
Irene Josselyn Clinic discussing "Values in a Valueless Society." The second 
meeting was held in February of 1978 when the parents discussed "What Do We 
Care About," based on issues raised by Dr. Giffin. The third meeting was in April, 
led by Dr. Derek Miller (a parent and chief of the Adolescent Program at 
Northwestern University). All sessions were held in the evening in the lower 
school music room. A similar education program was led by a parent committee 
under Jeannie Scully in the mid-1980s with periodic evening lectures for parents. 

The Woman's Board 

The society column of the now-defunct Chicago's American, an afternoon daily 
newspaper, printed a culturally-revealing description of the beginnings of the 
NSCDS Woman's Board on June 9, 1962, by Virginia Lee: 

Never underestimate the power of a woman — especially if she lives on the 
north shore! 

That you can't keep a good female fund-raiser down is being proved at this 
moment in the select northern suburbs, as the newly formed Woman's 
Board of North Shore Country Day School scurries about on its first 

This business is helping to raise enough money to construct an art center on 
the 16-acre campus. The goal? One million dollars in three years! 

North Shore Country Day — which was founded in 1919 by Perry Dunlap 
Smith, a descendant of one of the founders of the Chicago and North 
Western Railway — has always been male oriented. 

It never before had a Woman's Board — never wanted one. Then, in 1953, 
a North Shore mother, Mrs. John T. Pirie II, quietly started a "Treasure 
Chest" sale, which — in spite of the fact that antique toothpick holders were 
THE big feature of the sale — netted $2,500 the first year. 


The sale grew into a tradition and brought a few traumas along the way — 
most of them involving the first English taxi ever shipped down the St. 
Lawrence seaway. 

The girls imported the dowager-like little car to publicize one year's sale — 
soon found they had a prima donna on their hands. When one of the 
workers found herself — clad in Lily DachS hat and mink stole — pushing 
the pesky star down Sheridan Road in Winnetka, the girls decided they'd 
had enough. 

Last year they gave — instead of the sale — a "Time Off" party in Glenview 
Club. When even that turned out to be a smash of a fund-raising device, 
the school powers that be decided to dignify the girls with a title of their 
own — "Woman's Board." 

The happy femmes — whose first president is Mrs. Myron F. Ratcliffe — 
have their recognition. Now all they need is a million dollars! 

Such an article is rather startling to read twenty-five years later. But the sense of 
fun and imagination of these women does come through. In November of each 
year, beginning in 1953, the Treasure Chest was sponsored by the P.A. Started by 
Milda Barker and Alice Pirie, this was an annual gift sale geared for Christmas and 
featuring Christmas cards, gift wrappings, gift foods, toys, books and children's 

In the autumn of 1960 the Treasure Chest Sale was replaced by the "Country Fair." 
The chairman of the event that year, Margaret Ratcliffe, wrote in the October 
Notes that this was the eighth annual sale [but the first Country Fair], and that its 
purpose was to raise money for school needs not covered by available funds, for 
example, camera equipment, special stage lighting and new curtains for the 

By spring of 1962 it was apparent to the Board of Directors that this was a group of 
extraordinary women whose energy and ingenuity should be recognized and 
respected. Lawrence Howe, Jr, president of the Board, announced the 
establishment of the new Woman's Board, and Mrs. Ratcliffe was elected president. 

The Country Fair, was, in turn, replaced by the Needlework Show, an elegant 
display and sale of hand-crafted needlework, along with a cocktail party, which 
took place annually during the 1970s and was run by the Woman's Board. By this 
time, the Woman's Board had become THE major fund-raising organization of the 
School. In 1980 the first of the annual Auctions was held; its success was beyond 
all expectations! The annual Auction continued into the late 1980s as a major event 
of the year, taking place at the end of February in the McCarty Gymnasium 
following the basketball season. By 1990 the women would have contributed over 
one million dollars to the School from the annual Auction alone. 


Due to the enormous dedication and work of the Woman's Board, significant 
improvements have been made to all parts of the School; some of them include 
new audio-visual equipment for the Resource Center, energy-efficient doors and 
windows on campus buildings, total remodeling of the West Gym, refinishing the 
floor and painting the walls of the McCarty Gymnasium. Major contributions have 
been made to the Woman's Board Fund for Faculty Salaries in the school's 
endowment, ensuring future annual support as a result of these extraordinary 

Continuing Parents' Association Projects 

Membership on the Woman's Board in the early years of its existence was only 
twenty-four, each serving on revolving three-year terms; therefore, the Parents' 
Association (P.A.) served as an outlet for numerically larger parent participation. 

In the early decades of the School, the Association tended to be chaired by one of 
the fathers. Since the 1970s the leadership has come from the mothers, serving as 
co-chairmen (i.e., president and vice-president) and from the steering (for each 
school division) and grade chairs. By senior year the fathers were involved again, 
along with their wives, as grade chairs. In the 1980s there were fourteen 
committees, in addition to grade and division chairmanships, each with one, two 
or three members. 

Costume Committee 

The drama department still depended on the creativity and just plain hard work of 
the costume committee, which each year dressed its thespians. Mary Martha 
Beisel, Laurie Castle, Doodie Dammann, Vickie Weisenberg and Jean McClung, as 
well as others, have devoted years to this project, some well beyond the graduation 
of their children. 

Country Fair 

In the spring of 1979 the Country Fair was revived by Shirley Fuller and Sharon 
Cooper, the president and vice-president of the P.A. In the 1960s it had been held 
in autumn. In its revised form, called the Fancy Fair, it was held in May. Several 
years later, the name once again reverted to Country Fair. 

Although the intent of the fair in the 1960s was to raise money, the parents, 
inspired by Fuller and Cooper, changed the focus to concentrate more on the 
creation of comradeship and good feelings among the school family. By 1983 food 
at the fair began to take on more importance. People were encouraged to bring 
their families for the day and to eat their lunch at the fair. In the early 1980s, a six- 
mile run was introduced (but discontinued after several years) and parent-child 
tennis tournaments and races were featured along with games of chance, used 
book and clothing sales, films for children, "moon walks," a dunk tank and the 
junior class car wash. The objective was to involve all members of NSCDS families, 
whatever their age. The Country Fair not only continued to be a popular event, but 


also subsidized a faculty enrichment program yearly, funding experiences as 
diverse as attendance at a foreign language conference in Tunisia to learning about 
Native American ritual from a native medicine man in northern Ontario. 

Computer Committee 

In October of 1979 Eileen Donoghue, head of the math department, put out a call 
for parent volunteers to help with computer instruction. The Computer 
Committee now assists teachers with computer training in the lower school under 
the guidance of Carol Abelmann, first grade teacher. 

The Breakfast Line 

An experimental breakfast line was launched in the fall of 1979. The plan, 
instigated by a group of mothers, was to provide the students with an opportunity 
to buy a substantial breakfast during the mid-morning if they had run out of the 
house without eating or had simply "run out of steam" several hours before lunch 
time. (Prior to 1938, sandwiches were served immediately before Morning Ex 
everyday. When the custom was stopped in the autumn of 1938, one of the upper 
school students wrote to the editor of the school newspaper, "I miss the buns but 
not the expense.") The breakfast-line of the late 1970s served eggs, pancakes, 

French toast, cereal, sweet rolls and fruit during the first year of the experiment. 

By the second year the menu was reduced to cereal and rolls and by the third year 
was discontinued. The number of students taking advantage of the service did not 
warrant the labor involved. 

Publicity Committee 

Another project in 1979 was a publicity committee which took on the task of 
providing increased coverage for school events. In the desire to draw more parents 
to active support of the annual Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, a parent committee 
set up a dinner preceding the Saturday performance to give parents the 
opportunity to gather and socialize before the performance. 

Parent-Student Dinners 

Dinners for students and their parents have been important throughout the history 
of the School. In the early days when the Toy Shop was an annual pre-Christmas 
project, each grade had a designated dinner night; after dinner, parents and 
children worked together repairing old toys and making new ones for settlement 
houses in Chicago. In later years, long after the Toy Shop had ceased, potluck 
dinners continued to be held prior to other important school events such as the 
visit of Buckminster Fuller in 1972, the performance by the Berea Dancers in 1980, 
the lecture by A. Bartlett Giamatti (president of Yale University at the time) in 1985 
and the first Interim Week Evening presentation in 1986 when high school students 
shared the results of their week-long projects with parents. Interim Week evenings 
have continued, some years including the dinner, some years not. It has also been 
the custom for several decades for a meal to precede the "Go-to-School" nights for 
lower and middle school parents. 


Reflection on Parent Activities 

The kinds of parent-sponsored activities through the years were an interesting 
reflection of the times as well as of the individual personalities of the parent 
leaders. Sometimes fund-raising events were emphasized; sometimes adult 
education. The importance of the latter through the years has been attested by the 
grade meetings, by evening and lunchtime seminars, and by a wide range of 
lectures which periodically brought nationally-known speakers to the School. It is 
obvious that community-building has been important in all of these activities. 
NSCDS is unlike most schools in the sense that it does not draw from one 
geographical community, and hence there has had to be more emphasis on 
building emotional community. As Perry Dunlap Smith emphasized, education 
can only take place in community, and the parents were, and continue to be, a 
critical factor in building that sense of family. 

A National Model 

In the November 1941 Notes , twenty-two years after the School was established, 
Perry Dunlap Smith wrote: 

Every year at this time I am moved to feelings of profound gratitude and 
admiration as I watch the various members of our parent body who have 
accepted posts of responsibility on the several committees of the Parents' 
Association swing into action. 

I know of no other school (and I see a great many every year) in which the 
parents seem to understand completely the value as well as the necessity of 
their active participation in the school's work. It is not a sense of obligation 
or duty which seems to motivate this. It is certainly not a sense of conscious 
virtue or charitable good works. Rather it is a conviction that parents and 
homes are necessary in the lives of growing children and are just as vital a 
part of their education as are schools and teachers, that children who miss 
either of those two elements have a serious lack in their lives, and that those 
who not only have both of these but have them understandingly and 
sincerely cooperating by sharing their responsibilities as fully as possible 
stand a far greater chance of growing into satisfactory individuals who will 
give as well as receive happiness in the common welfare of mankind. 

So successful was his program of parent participation that The North Shore 
Country Day School was looked on nationally as a model of effective integration of 
parents into the education of their children. Former faculty member, Amy 
Cholnoky, discovered in the files of The Community School in New Canaan, 
Connecticut, where she was on the staff, that Perry Dunlap Smith was invited to 
lecture on "The Parents' Place in a School" by the Parent-Teacher Association in 
1934. In the October Notes of 1942, Mr. Smith wrote: 


Only last year two Chicago schools [which] for years had been inclined to 
believe that collaboration between parents and faculty on the scale we have 
always practiced was not only unwise but impractical, invited us to show 
them how to start similar organizations in their schools. 

In March 1951 a conference of the Secondary Education Board was held in the East 
at which Mr. Smith participated in a presentation on "Cooperation with the Parents 
in Regulating Social Life." The questions which were addressed were: "How can a 
school be of help to parents in formulating rules for students' social life? What 
responsibilities does a school have toward its parents and students in helping to 
provide and plan for a well-rounded and sensible social life?" Unfortunately, 
Smith's responses to these questions were never recorded. 

In January 1985, The New York Times printed an article entitled "Schools Are 
Encouraging an Active Parental Role," by Stan Salett, senior associate and co- 
founder of the National Committee for Citizens in Education, based in Columbia, 
Maryland. The article emphasized the importance of the participation of parents in 
the wide variety of activities within the schools. What was considered quite radical 
in Mr. Smith's day has become an educational truism. Parental involvement in 
children's education is an idea which has now permeated the establishment. 

In 1986 an expert in parent-school collaboration came from Washington, D.C. to 
serve as a consultant to the North Shore Parents' Association. As she described 
"parent peer groups" and presented the guidelines for effective meetings, it 
became evident that this was what Perry Dunlap Smith was saying fifty years ago 
when he described the grade meetings of the NSCDS parents. 

It is clear that Perry Smith was ahead of his time in many areas of school 
administration but most particularly in his relationship with the parents of his 
School. The education of children was and is a mutual project depending on both 
home and school for success. It is obvious that, from the beginning, Mr. Smith 
respected the role of the parents as essential collaborators in the most important 
work either he or they would ever do in their lifetime — that is, educating their 

The Alumni 

In a school which emphasized the family to the degree that North Shore did, it was 
not surprising that by the 1940s and 1950s there were a number of second 
generation students, children of alumni. The alumni were themselves becoming 
school parents and were bringing an important perspective to the Parent 
Association and to the Board of Directors. 

In the early years of the School, Perry Smith took great pride in keeping up with 
his graduates, often writing them personal letters during their years in college, and 
cheering them on in their early professions. But as the number of alumni grew, it 
became more difficult for the headmaster to keep in close touch. 


Although there were only three students in the graduating class in 1920, within 
four decades there were some 1,200 graduates and by 1990 about 3,000 very mobile 
alumni who lived in forty-eight states and the District of Columbia in North 
America, as well as in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe and in many other 
locales all over the world. 

One of these alumni, Francis R. Stanton '27, himself a father of three alumni, a past 
president of the Alumni Association, twice Chairman of the Board of Directors, 
and in 1990 Vice President of Alumni Giving, remembered his close-to-three 
decades with the Alumni Association: 

One of my first tasks as a new member of the Board of Directors at North 
Shore in 1963 was to look into the alumni activities, and it was there that I 
got to know and work with Jean Talley. Among her many administrative 
jobs, Jean kept a record of all incoming gifts from alumni, as well as all the 
data on them that was available. It seemed to me that the same people 
were giving the same modest amounts year after year and receiving in due 
course an impersonal form receipt from the School. There was an Alumni 
Association in existence, and two editions of the Alumni Directory had 
been published. 

Another thing I noted was that there were a lot of alumni listed who were 
not actually graduates of the School, and in each case an "ex" stood before 
their class designation. To my surprise, a sizable number of the donors 
were "ex"-rated! Many of them in the early years had gone East to a prep 
school, as I had, for their last year or two before college. Jean agreed with 
me that there was an untapped resource out there, so we set about planning 
how to involve more and more of them in their old school — in most cases 
their first school. [Later, the "ex-" designation was completely removed to 
reflect this equality.] 

The old issues of the Mirror gave us a clue on our first of many annual 
communications to the alums, as it was there that we found untitled 
photographs of earlier classes and individuals involved in all sorts of 
activities. Perry Smith had not wished to have "star" status applied to any 
students, and it was this that ironically gave us our opening wedge. "Can 
you name these people?" we would ask as we sent out photocopies with 
the usual solicitation for the Annual Alumni Giving Drive. Our Gilbert and 
Sullivan was the best one, I think, but, in any case, the response was 
immediate and generous! By the end of the 1970s, we got out a new (third) 
Directory, and this time we omitted the "ex" designation. One of our 
alumni (Paul Loomis '56) wrote in that we were being too gentle in our 
approach. He sent us a drawing of a wicked-looking "Cookie Monster," 
beneath whose glowering countenance was the word "Give!", implying the 
obvious "or else!". We used it the following year with great success. We 
tried to mix a little competition between classes, as well as nostalgia, and all 
this worked well except for the mythical "Family Trophy." The Howes, like 
the New York Yankees or the Chicago Bears of old, turned this into an 
annual rout. 


The reward for me in all this was the number of letters and notes I received 
from people I hadn't seen or heard from in decades! In the 1972-73 fiscal 
year we received just under $6,000 from only 153 donors, and in 1980-81 we 
received $34,560 from 557 alumni. So we were moving ahead. The 
incoming administration, under Richard P. Hall as headmaster in 1979, 
realized that one of North Shore's greatest needs was a Director of 
Development. Nancy Jones Emrich [Director of Development 1981-1992] 
came shortly thereafter to fill this position and created programs that 
included phonathons, out-of-town alumni meetings, reunions, class gifts 
and class representatives, to all of which our ever-increasing body of 
alumni responded wonderfully. 

To confirm this, a total of a little over $180,000 was received from 862 
alumni in the 1989-90 fiscal year! By this time my role focused on 
personally acknowledging these gifts as they were received. I kept Jean 
and Will Talley apprised of everything that came in, and they were as 
enthusiastic and encouraged as I was, even as their health was sadly failing. 

From my own experience, the alumni of a day school have far deeper roots 
to bind them together than the alumni of a boarding school, primarily 
because of demography. At any rate. The North Shore Country Day School 
alumni are and will continue to be a tremendous asset to the School. 

The Country Fair of the 60s was run by 
parents to raise money for school needs 
not covered by available funds. 

Francis R. Stanton '27 and Jean Talley review (in 
the 70s) the record of incoming gifts from 
NSCDS alumni. 


THE TWENTIES: A New Movement Seeks Expression 

I believe that the school is primarily a social institution, education being 
a social process. The school is simply that form of community life 
in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most 
effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources 
of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends. 

John Dewey 

Perry Dunlap Smith used the words of John Dewey, the philosopher of progressive 
education, to open the 1920 school catalog. The intent of Mr. Smith was to 
integrate the theories of progressive education with the format of the "country 
day" plan in response both to the parents' desires and to his own convictions. As 
he explained in the catalog: 

The children remain at school all day, making it possible for recitation and 
study periods to be distributed throughout the day, alternating with 
periods of gymnasium exercises and supervised out-of-door play. In this 
way, the child goes home from school rested and free from nervous strain. 

This is impossible where recitation periods follow each other in rapid 

With social activities as a center, a small community is formed, in which 
each member is encouraged to realize individual responsibility in the life of 
the larger community. 

Later generations saw The North Shore Country Day School as a whole, complete 
with its methods, its purposes, its students, teachers, buildings, budgets and 
traditions. The day it opened, the School could not have been seen whole from any 
point of view, and its fixed attributes were neither fixed nor attributes. All that 
came together on opening day was a group of people with good intentions, some 
of whom had a dream. The story of North Shore in the twenties is the story of how 
that dream was built into a reality, and the hero of the story, the architect of the 
reality, had to be the headmaster. 

To begin, the headmaster needed a student body, their parents and a faculty — all 
of whose enthusiastic collaboration he must arouse in order for the School to take 
shape. Standards of admission and attendance had to be set, levels of tuition and 
expenditure had to be brought into balance, a daily and yearly schedule had to be 
matched to the classrooms and faculty available. Once this foundation was in 
place, the headmaster faced three major creative tasks: first, he must outline a 
coherent curriculum from kindergarten through high school, a curriculum which 
skillful teachers could enrich by progressive methods and which, at the same time, 
would qualify students to enter the colleges of their choice; secondly, he must 
somehow call into being a spirit of place, in other words a sense of community; 
lastly, and as a result of success in tine first two tasks, he needed an expanding 


plant, buildings and land adapted to all the curricular and extra-curricular 
activities which would evolve as the dream became a school. 

The original daily schedule for students from grades seven to twelve was from 8:30 
a.m. to 5 p.m. Younger children were dismissed earlier: fifth and sixth grades at 4 
p.m., fourth grade at 3:40 p.m., third grade at 3 p.m., first and second grades at 2 
p.m. and kindergarten at 11:30 a.m. 

Attention to Health 

The health of the children received considerable attention in the early school; this 
was integral to the progressive philosophy. The 1920 booklet pointed out, "the 
school believes a healthy body is the first requisite of an active mind." Three times 
a year each child was given a thorough physical and medical examination. Every 
morning the school physician checked each child in the lower grades along with 
the headmaster who shook each child's hand, a custom which lasted into the late 

Special attention was given to those youngsters who were underweight. An 
alumna of the Class of '21, Christine Baumann Collins, remembered her senior 

... a foundation that was concerned with underweight students put a 
program into NSCDS [under the supervision of Dr. W. R. P. Emerson, the 
noted health specialist of Boston at that time]. I was the only junior or 
senior underweight enough to have to join their program. I had to eat 
graham crackers and drink milk in the middle of the morning and 
afternoon, and — horrors! — had to take a fifteen-minute nap and was not 
allowed to play basketball until 1 had gained sufficient weight! 

An entire issue of the school newspaper in May 1922 was devoted to health, 
stimulated by National Health Promotion Week started several years prior. Many 
of the younger grades contributed articles. 

Grade four offered "The Rules of Health for North Shore," which included the rule 
to open one's window at night; and, if there was only one window, to open the top 
as well as the bottom. The fifth grade had an article on posture and included the 
class outline of health education which advocated, among other things, the 
following: "jump out of bed upon awakening in the morning" and "wash head and 
scalp once every three weeks." 

The seventh grade wrote on sanitation in medieval towns and the eighth grade on 
the eye. The editorial supported the fifth grade in its emphasis on good posture. 

Recollections of Charles Haas '31 include the key role of "Doc" Anderson [P.E. 
1920-49] in the boys' health education from seventh grade through high school. 
Haas recalled: 


There were three indelible imprints he left on me. I take a shower ever day, 
and it always ends with a cold shower; no doubt the original reason was 
that after football, we went out into the cold to walk home, so after getting 
clean in a hot shower, a cold shower closed the pores — but I still do it. I 
am very self-conscious about dirty fingernails, and now that I do all my 
own gardening, I give a lot of time to Doc Anderson Memorial Nail 

Cleaning. Lastly, a clean handkerchief is a must In the seventh and/or 

eighth and/or ninth grade, Mr. Anderson gave a course to the boys in 
human anatomy and physiology — centered about various "systems": the 
circulatory system, the digestive system, the nervous system, the 
respiratory system, the bony system, glands, muscles and so forth, and 
culminating in the reproductive system, male and female, and exactly how 
it functioned in real life. This was not a course in standards or conduct — 
Perry Smith attempted to deal with that in later grades — this was strictly 
an introduction to the human body. If there were any standards discussed, 
they were standards of hygiene. 

The 1920 School catalog assured parents that all pupils above kindergarten were 
served a hot luncheon under the direction of a dietitian, helped by the volunteer 
committee of mothers. The first grade ate at small tables in their own building 
while the rest of the youngsters ate in the lunch rooms in Knollslea Hall until 1924 
when the new lunch room was built on the lower level of the new gym. Grades 
seven through twelve had separate lunchrooms in Knollslea, one for girls and one 
for boys, and when the new lunchroom was ready, boys and girls, much to their 
chagrin, were assigned to separate sides of the room. 

An editorial in the School newspaper. The Purple and White, of March 18, 1929, 

This is a coeducational school — yet the very minute a group of boys starts 
to sit on the designated girls' side of the lunch room, they are hurried back 
to the opposite side. May I ask why? A few years ago, the habit grew up of 
boys and girls eating together — yes, actually at the same table. They were 
perfectly gentlemanly or ladylike, as the case demanded. None of those 
people have grown up to be sinners or murderers. As a matter of fact the 
lunch table talk was even raised to a higher standard. As long as it is a 
coeducational school, it's hardly necessary to have certain districts for each 
sex to roam in with their lunch trays. 

Shortly after that the boys and girls were again eating with each other in the lunch 
room. Perry Smith was experimenting with the most effective way of mixing the 
sexes in a coeducational school. He would write a great deal about that later. 

Other Advice for Parents 

Parents were also assured in the 1920 catalog that "the motive of athletics is to 
build a foundation of health that will last through life." Exercises for each child 


were determined by the physical exam given at the beginning of each year, and 
children who needed corrective exercises were taught them. For the sake of 
freedom of movement, practical and simply-made clothing was advocated. "A 
cape has been found to be most serviceable for use when going from one building 
to another." [Alumni memories of Mr. Smith himself were of his tall figure 
striding across campus on cold winter days wrapped in his heavy wool army 

The 1920 booklet also cautioned parents: 

... the teaching of the proper methods of study by actual instruction in the 

classroom is one of the chief aims of the school The parents are 

earnestly requested not to do any part of the child's homework for him. 

Tuition Information 

The first schedule of annual tuitions was printed near the end of the 1920 catalog. 
Kindergarten was $125, first and second grades, $200; third and fourth grades, 

$250; fifth and sixth grades, $300; seventh and eighth grades, $325; and high school, 
$350. In the next seventy years the tuition would increase over 2000 percent! [In 
those days a live-in maid could be hired for a Winnetka household for $18 a week. 
A small three-story Winnetka home could be purchased for $7500-$10,000.] 

In addition to tuition, according to the early school catalog, each pupil was re- 
quired to have $25 deposited to his account in the school "bank." The students 
were taught how to write checks on the "bank" to pay for books, school supplies 
and lunches. Arthur Cox, Jr. '37 recalls the children used the account only for 
school supplies, not for books. His memories include going to the school store 
located on the first floor of Knollslea Hall and periodically balancing his 
checkbook, an important exercise in math. 


The study of French began in the first grade, according to the catalog, and 
continued all the way through upper school, although Chuck Haas '31 
remembered French in his kindergarten class: 

In the fall of 1919, five-years-old plus — my birthday is in November, I 
entered The North Shore Country Day School Kindergarten. Our teacher's 
name was Miss Kee, and we studied French. Miss Kee's name may seem 
unimportant, but it belongs in the record as a monument to Sex-and-the-Six- 
year-old: in my eyes she was Miss Winnetka of 1919, and I loved her with 
all my heart until the summer she ran off and got married to someone else. 


Our kindergarten study of French came right after World War I; things 
French were de rigueur. Also, someone had observed that infants could 

learn complicated languages like Navajo or Ashanti or whatever they 
happened to be bom to. So the Kindergarten studied French: we sat in a 
circle and counted, each of us saying one number. Unfortunately, Miss Kee 
could not have been as bright as she was beautiful, because our seating 
order, on some principle (like keeping the peace), was invariable. I was 
always "cinq." At six, I learned "cinq" rather quickly, and I have never 
forgotten it. Often since then, in Paris, while strolling down the Rue de 
Seine shopping for f raises des bois, I have overheard a Frenchman ask his 
companion, "Oh est la plume de ma tante?" I'm always tempted to tap him on 
the shoulder and whisper, "Cinq." 

Looking at the 1920 booklet, one notes that in many ways the curriculum outline 
looks like that of today, but a few differences are worth mentioning. History and 
geography are listed separately, history beginning in first grade with the study of 
farm life and Eskimo and Indian life, and geography beginning in third grade with 
industries and physical geography. In spite of being listed separately in the 
curriculum, there was an attempt to coordinate geography with history and to 
build a culture-centered focus for each grade: the Vikings in the third grade, the 
Greeks in the fourth, the American colonists in the fifth and the Europeans in 
the sixth. 

Chuck Haas' memories continue: 

The following year (1920-21) came the first grade which in those days was 
where everyone learned to read. However, I had long since learned to read 
by playing anagrams with my grandmother, so in the middle of the year I 
was promoted to second grade, thereby happily becoming a member of the 
wonderful Class of 1931. 

One event of possible interest preceded my promotion. At his new School, 

Mr. Smith was establishing the custom that there should be an all-school 
Christmas program including a first grader reading Luke 2:7 through Luke 
2:19. For Christmas 1920 1 was chosen. At the time I assumed that this 
distinction came because Grandma and the anagrams had made me the 
best reader. Later 1 sometimes thought that perhaps Mr. Smith, who was 
deeply moral and deeply religious in a non-sectarian way, had a hand in 
the selection, hoping that any prejudiced members of the community would 
be moved by hearing the news from a cute little collateral descendant of the 
bewildered mother in the stable. 

The second grade teacher was Miss Lillian Griffin. She made us feel she 
cared about us — even long after we left her class — and my recollection is 
that we learned a great deal. As our "core curriculum" we studied early 
Chicago, and we built a small model of Fort Dearborn. While teaching us 
local history. Miss Griffin also taught us how to use the library and to work 
out simple problems in the actual dimensions of Fort Dearborn. Then she 
taught us how to reduce those dimensions (for example, on a scale of 1/2 
inch equals one foot) so as to plan the proper layout of our accurate tabletop 


model. This seems worth recording because to me it represents 
"progressive" education at its best: the teacher carefully plans for the 
students an extended creative activity which will lead them to expand — to 
need and want to expand — their knowledge of history, English and 
mathematical theory while at the same time building something with 
their hands. 

It is obvious in looking at an old school catalog that there is a world of difference 
between the sterile description of a list of courses and the drama of a culture- 
centered curriculum branded into the memory of an impressionable child like 
Chuck Haas: 

[I am remembering] the Thirty Days War of 1923 In the spring of that 

year. Miss Hale had the fifth grade reading Treasure Island ; to make it 
memorable, she buried a treasure somewhere on the campus and hid 
cryptic clues in odd places. The fifth graders carved themselves wooden 
cutlasses and spent their recess time hunting the treasure. 

The fourth grade, under the entrancing Mrs. Sands, was reading the Iliad 
and had made wooden Greek swords and cardboard or tin shields. We of 
the fourth resolved to find Miss Hale's treasure. From then on during 
recess and after school, the campus became the windy plains of Troy as 
short sword battled cutlass, and the tide ebbed and flowed between grey 
West Hall and the pine trees along the hill above Green Bay Road. I don't 
remember who found the treasure, but I remember our Diomedes and 
Odysseus, our Ajax and Achilles, their Ben Gunn, Jim Hawkins, Squire, and 
Long John Silver 

The sixth grade was taught by a second Miss Griffith, elder sister of the 
redhead who had the third grade. My chief recollection of that year is that 
we all chose businesses (mine was school supplies) and were open for 
clientele at a set hour or two each day. We did our own buying and pricing 
and had to keep a journal and a ledger for Miss Griffith's inspection. This 
remains alive in me because, although math was never my preferred 
subject, I can keep double-entry books, read balance sheets and spread 
sheets, and rapidly perform addition or subtraction in my head. Thank 
you, Miss Griffith. 

Now we come to seventh and eighth grade, the age which cannot sit still 
for an instruction period of forty-five minutes. I am not sure, but I think it 
was in seventh grade (still in West Hall) we had a Mr. Carlson who solved 
the problem of keeping order by reading us Thome Smith's Topper; 
obviously better than ritalin. 

In eighth grade (I think) these problems crested in Miss Babcock's music 
class. We had perfected a system of humming — mouths closed, no visible 
culprit — which filled the room with sound and drove teachers insane. 

One day Mr. Smith appeared. We would not waste any more of Miss 


Babcock's time. Instead of music we would study military drill out by the 
flagpost. And we did. (It is pertinent here to note that the sexes were then 
temporarily separated at middle school level. The reasons were various, 
including the fact that seventh and eighth grade girls mature and grow more 
rapidly than boys.) 

The military drill, led by PDS, had its sequel. Spring that year was rainy 
and muddy. My best friend was Ted Gerhard who lived in the (then) 
Episcopal Parish House at the southwest comer of Linden and Oak across 
from the public library. We'd walk home along Forest, Willow and Linden. 
One day we came upon two classmates, George Hale, who lived on Willow, 
and Herman Butler. A mud fight ensued. Ted and I won by superior 
tactics. We decided to extend operations and organized the MSA (Mud 
Slingers Association) which utilized our military background. After school 
we drilled and developed maneuvers of attack and defense. Francis Moore 
contributed the command "Wither" (unknown to Col. Smith) which caused 
everyone to drop flat. We reached our imperial apogee the day we used 
recess to drive either the ninth or the seventh grade completely off the 
campus; classes had to be suspended while the refugees were rounded up. 
After that I think Mr. Smith sent us back to music, which, I suppose, he felt 
had charms to soothe the savage breast. 

Mention of our early route home along the west side of the campus calls to 
mind an episode which illustrates Mr. Smith's profound moral concerns. 

One day, at about this era, Ted and I came upon a stretch of freshly relaid 
sidewalk on Willow between Forest and Linden. Naturally, we put our 
initials on it. Mr. Smith must have walked that way to the village because 
he saw the identifiable EAG and CFH. He called us to his office, told us 
that the workmen who had laid that sidewalk clearly took great pride in 
their skill: they left a beautiful, smooth, well-finished job, and we had 
messed it up. He sent us to a nearby stretch of Willow, where another piece 
was being repaired, to find those workmen and apologize to them. We did 
so. Neither of us ever forgot the experience or what Perry Smith said. 

At some point between seventh and ninth grades we moved into the newly- 
built Dunlap Hall and made the transition from being a class in a classroom 
to shifting from room to room and teacher to teacher. . . 

Along with the French and the Greeks, Treasure Island and Topper , music and 
military drill, each student also had "hand work" every year, a curricular 
component from first through twelfth grades. Arthur Cox '37 remembered that 
the lower school shop was conducted in the basement of Eliott Hall. 

On the west side was the shop, presided over by "Dutch" Anderson 
[1924-30 — brother of "Doc" Anderson]. "Dutch" used to have his shop 
classes line up outside the north door of the shop. When all were 
assembled, he would open the door and ask us to "March in and form a line 
around the second bench!" 


If my memory serves me correctly, there were four double (two-sided) 
work benches, two at the north end of the shop and two at the south end. 

The center of the shop was somewhat narrower and the east wall featured a 
very orderly rack for woodworking tools — quantities of hammers, chisels, 
planes, hand saws, drills. Along the west wall there was an outside door to 
a concrete stairwell. To the south of this was a table saw. And I believe the 
shop was also equipped with a band saw. These were operated only by 
"Dutch" and a very small number of qualified students. [Chuck Haas 
remembered there was also a jig saw.] 

"Dutch" used his "second bench lineup" to give us our instructions for 
each new project. Then we would go to one of the two-sided work benches 
and try to emulate whatever prototype he had shown us. I remember 
making small weavers' looms and birdhouses, but he had many other such 
projects for us. 

I believe we alternated each semester between shop classes (usually twice 
each week) and art, under Mrs. Bacon. 

The shop classes focused primarily upon woodworking and wood finishing. 
There may have been some mechanical tools but they were used primarily 
for screws and bolts in woodworking projects rather than for mechanical 

Chuck Haas '31 remembered his wood shop experience in his seventh and eighth 
grade years: 

The wood shop was not where I shone. Perhaps my small muscle 
coordination was slow to develop, but in any case my boats never came out 
as well as Jamie Odell's. (The projects were so devised that we learned to 
handle the tools one by one; the only tool we were forbidden to touch was 
the belt-driven table saw.) When I collected too many books for my 
bookshelves at home, my mother said that if I wanted the books, I should 
provide the shelves. I have done so ever since to this day. Our house 
contains books and records and CDs covering many walls; all on shelves I 
built. In addition, the house holds four bureaus and two desks of my 
design and manufacture; also built-in storage cabinets, floor to ceiling 
kitchen cabinets, re-upholstered chairs, and so forth. All thanks to NSCDS. 

. . . We learned to make scale plans (and blueprints) in three elevations; and 
one year when an incinerator was needed at the back of Dunlap, we learned 
to mix concrete. Useless? Not at all: when the decking by my pool fell into 
disrepair, 1 had no need to pay anyone $20/hour to fix it. Thanks to Mr. 
Bollinger, I knew how. 

One semester of seventh or eighth grade science was devoted to the 
ordinary appliances of contemporary life. We learned to repair toilets, 
leaky faucets, plugged-up gas burners, light switches, wall switches, lamp 
wiring, et cetera. I can handle simple roofing, electrical and plumbing 


problems without calling for help. Unfortunately, we never worked on 
refrigerator compressors or internal combustion engines. There was no 
metal shop. Nevertheless, we learned to find our way about in a world of 
machines and devices without always needing to hire a guide. 

In the upper school "hand work" consisted of art, printing and shop. The print 
shop was very busy in the early years, producing such publications as the 1920 
yearbook Leaves (the following year the yearbook becomes the Mirror), the 1920-21 
school catalog and the early issues of the school newspaper. 

In grades eight and nine, cooking was added to the other three "hand work" 
courses. (When Lewis and Margaret Taylor joined the faculty in 1925, cooking was 
taken by the girls as "home economics" and taught by Margaret.) 

According to the early catalog, the history sequence for the upper grades included 
the following: eighth grade — history of the American people; ninth grade — 
current American problems; tenth grade — ancient history 5000 B.C. to 800 A.D. 
("emphasis on manners, customs, literature and philosophy"); eleventh grade — 
English history ("emphasis on present times in relation to English life and 
government"); and twelfth grade — world history ("special emphasis on 
movements and customs"). The only upper grade to have geography specified on 
the curriculum was seventh [in the early days seventh and eighth grades were part 
of the upper school], and the course was on Asia. Also taught in seventh grade 
was a history course on "Our Ancestors in Europe." It is not clear whether there 
was any attempt to connect the two courses. 

The upper school sequence in math was as follows: ninth grade — algebra; tenth 
grade — geometry; eleventh grade — no listing; and twelfth grade — review of 
algebra, "1/2 yr. geometry, 1/2 yr. trig." [Calculus and Statistics will not be added 
until the 1960s.] The science sequence included hygiene in ninth grade, general 
science in tenth, physics in eleventh, and both chemistry and economics in twelfth. 
Foreign language for all four years included both Latin and French, and many 
students took both of them simultaneously in the early years. 

The sixth graders in the 1923 Mirror wrote about combining history and geography 
into a course they called "histography." They planned the ideal colony that year as 
though they were the only people on earth. In order to do this they "decided to 
study most of the civilizations, such as Egypt, Babylonia, Syria, Chaldea, Phoenicia, 
Greece and Rome, so we could find out what we should need for our colony." 

They made models of Egyptian temples, obelisks, the sphinx, and pyramids and 
gave them later to the lower school museum. 

Raising sheep on the campus for several years during the mid-1920s became part of 
the curriculum for the second grade. It was at a 50th year reunion for the Class of 
1936 that Hubie Howard '36 recalled caring for the sheep on the grounds of the 
School. Sure enough, the Mirrors from 1923 through 1926 record brief comments 
from the second graders about "Frisky" and "Woolly," a ewe and her offspring 
lamb. The children would shear the sheep each spring and spin the wool. 


Perry Smith himself became embroiled in a zoning conflict with the village of 
Winnetka over the building of an animal shed. On September 20, 1926, he wrote a 
letter to the Board of Appeals: 


As part of our curriculum in the lower school and to further the study of 
Natural Science, we wish to construct a shed to house certain small animals 
at varying times. These animals may be a sheep, a goat, rabbits or chickens. 
Inasmuch as the children care for these animals themselves, we should like 
to have the children construct this shed. 

The permit was denied, pending a complete plat of property and new location and 
proper drainage. Four days later Smith wrote to a parent on La Salle Street to 
enlist his aid: 

Dear John: 

... I want to ask a favor of you in your capacity of President of The Village. 

As you know, each grade in the Lower School keeps some kind of an 
animal as part of the work. These are rabbits, guinea pigs, ring doves, and 
an ewe and her lamb. We have for some time planned the building of a 
miniature farm to house these pets, and last year constructed a corral for 
them on Elder Lane. This year we wish to build a shed to shelter the sheep 
and the goat (if we get one). Mr. Bollinger, our shop teacher, drew plans for 
it, but received word from some authority at the village hall that this could 
not be built because of the Zoning Law. 

Now really, John, this is a bit too thick. You remember that my own house 
is in a Class A residence district and that the village did not hesitate to build 
not only a shed adjoining my property, but a whole utility yard where 
horses are kept as well as tar wagons and steam rollers, and also that the 
dog pound flourishes there so that the children are edified by seeing dogs 
shot quite frequently. The Zoning Law did not object to that. Why should 
it object to the building of this miniature barn fifty feet from the property 
line and hidden behind the existing green plank fence? 

I would appreciate it very much if you could let me know whom to see 
about the matter, or if you could help me out in any way. 

According to the History of Zoning Cases from the village records, the request was 
denied. But other permits for building were granted. 

Building Community 

Building a school, however, is more than constructing buildings; it is creating 
community. And at that. Perry Dunlap Smith was a master. This was probably the 


major reason for his success as a founding headmaster. From the very beginning 
he had established close rapport with the parents. The teachers, too, recognized he 
was one of the them; he handled courses as diverse as math, ancient history and 
dramatics in the early days of the School. In fact, he continued to teach a course, 
entitled Social Standards, for the rest of his career, even after he retired as 
headmaster in 1954. He also recognized the importance of establishing rituals and 
traditions from the very beginning. Morning Exercise was instituted as a daily 
ritual, a time for the ''family" to come together to share what they were learning 
or had experienced, or to learn something they ought to be aware of about the 
outside world. 

Morning Exercise Program 

Morning Exercise is explained in the booklet as a period each morning when the 
classes come together. "At this time, whatever has been found to be especially 
interesting or worthwhile by any group is shared with the rest of the school." 
Elsewhere, Smith called Morning Exercise "the Headmaster's class," as important 
to the education of the child as classes in English, mathematics or science. 

Smith had brought the Morning Exercise idea with him from the Francis W. Parker 
School where it expressed an essential part of the Parker philosophy. In 1930, 
Parker School published The Morning Exercise as a Socializing Influence, a 
description of its theory and practice. 

In the foreword to the book Parker, himself, explained his rules for Morning 
Exercise, a meeting of the entire school for twenty minutes daily: 

. . . nothing extraneous to the intrinsic movement of the school ... no 
attempt at show or mere exhibition . . . representing every class and grade 
... all preparation made with care and deliberation . . . using the best 
literary and art forms 

Many examples of "Morning Ex" were described in the book: those celebrating 
national or school holidays, those relating to class work, those emphasizing school 
unity such as town meetings and those bringing in outside guests. Parents were 
encouraged to contribute their experiences to the school community through 
Morning Ex. 

The North Shore Country Day School picked up the custom intact, and faculty 
members in the early years were responsible for a certain number of Morning 
Exercise presentations each school year, at one point as many as eight. Moreover, 
each child in the school was to have at least one involvement in a Morning Ex 
every year. 

In order to safeguard the students from an attitude of exhibitionism, no clapping 
was allowed unless there was an outside guest. This was a custom that didn't 


survive into the 1970s and 1980s when even the general announcements elicited 

Morning Ex offered an excellent opportunity to bring world issues to the student 
consciousness. At Thanksgiving time in 1921, the seniors were in charge and 
decided to present a pageant to celebrate world peace. The following year, 1922, 
on Armistice Day, guest speaker Captain Ernest Ballard described how American 
soldiers in France felt when the Armistice was signed. 

During Morning Ex time on holidays, parties were held. Valentine's Day gave the 
lower and upper schools the opportunity to come together for a celebration in the 
gym. Parties were held as well at Halloween and Christmas time. The Santa Claus 
party, one of the inheritances from Parker School, has survived almost intact for 
close to seventy years. 

One of the main purposes, however — to display the Toy Shop results — is no 
longer the case. The Toy Shop (the parents and their youngsters working together 
each December to repair old toys and make new ones for distribution at Chicago 
settlement houses) will go out with the 1960s. Wrapped gifts will be brought by 
the students during the 1970s and 1980s and continue to be distributed to the less 

Morning Exercise also gave time to various classes to share knowledge. The 
sophomore boys' Latin class in 1923 compared Caesar's army with that of the 
Americans. French classes gave plays in French. Chuck Haas remembers being 
one of the judges in "Jeanne d'Arc." "My best girl was Jeanne; when she pled, 
'Pitie, mes juges, pitie!' I could hardly bear to condemn her." Frances Sands and 
her fourth grade class presented a Greek Thanksgiving as part of their Greece- 
centered curriculum. 

Current events programs were frequent. Those were the days before television 
news. Haas recalls: 

There were more extensive single issue programs. I worked on a 
presentation of the pros and cons of Boulder (now Hoover) Dam in the mid- 
twenties. Also we had pre-election campaign presentations in 1924. In 
those days there were only Republicans in Winnetka. I was the only 
"Progressive" in the class, so I made the speech for LaFollette; George Hale 
was the only Democrat, so he spoke for John W. Davis. I don't remember 

who spoke for Coolidge Mr. Smith also introduced non-military heroes 

to speak at Morning Ex — for example, Helen Keller and Admiral Peary's 

companion. Captain Bob Bartlett, of North Pole fame There were no 

blacks in the School, probably not even in the town (domestic help tended 
to be Norwegian at that time), so Mr. Smith several times brought the 

Tuskegee Institute singers to sing spirituals at Morning Ex Town 

Meetings for student government elections, issues and reports were held 
during Morning Ex. 


Lew Taylor (math 1925-64) wrote of the values he saw in Morning Ex: 

It gave practice in organizing material and explaining it. It gave practice in 
speaking in public. It gave knowledge of the whole School — what was 
going on. It gave a feeling of the life of the School — the heartbeat. 

During the early 1970s the number of Morning Exercises will be reduced from one 
each day to three a week. In the late 1980s teachers, especially those with public 
school background, will continue to challenge the validity of Morning Ex, feeling 
that it takes away from classroom time, and will seek to reduce the number further. 

Moreover, in later years Morning Ex will tend to slip away from the heavy 
proportion of student-originated presentations and toward more appearances by 
outside guests. The attitude of the students will shift from one of sharing 
knowledge and experiences with each other to that of sitting back and waiting to 
be entertained. By the late '80s, however, there will be a attempt to reverse that 
trend by encouraging more student presentations again. 

Fall Traditions 

Fall traditions instituted during the twenties included a picnic on the beach of Lake 
Michigan for the faculty, usually at the end of each September. In 1922 the 
entertainment at the picnic was singing by Perry Smith and Nina Babcock (music 
teacher 1922-30). When those picnics ceased is lost in the haze of memory. 

In early October there was a Vacation Fair Day. Louisa May Greeley (girls' 
physical education teacher 1921-28) kept a log from 1922 through 1924 and 
indicated that on these Fair Days "dogs barked from every tree." The event offered 
the students the opportunity to show and tell what they did during vacation time. 
A 1929 school brochure explained that: 

Each child in the Lower School is expected to complete at least one 
worthwhile project during the summer. This work may be anyting from 
the building of a boat or the care of flowers, to the keeping of a report of 
summer reading or a book of snap-shots. Evidence of this work will be 
exhibited at the Vacation Fair shortly after the opening of School. 

It must also have been a time to bring pets to School. Each class had a booth with a 
display of vacation activity. Virginia Deane '41 remembers her fourth or fifth grade 
during the 1930s when her contribution to the Vacation Fair was a self-cured 
porcupine skin. 

At least one year during the 1920s — 1924 — a Dig Day was held in the fall, 
although it was typically a spring event. 


Students line up for Morning Exercise. Eliot Hall is behind them. 

The Gilbert and Sullivan opera tradition began in 1924 with The Pirates of Penzance. 

In 1925, the Opera Club put on The Gondoliers in the old gymnasium. 


West Hall (in the 20s) 
served many purposes 
until it was demolished in 
1937 to make way for the 
lower school building. 

Iolanthe was the third opera 
and was presented in 1926. 

The new auditorium provided a large stage for the 1927 production of Patience. 


Winter Traditions 

Winter traditions started with the Toy Shop in early December. In the very early 
days, during the 1920s, the students worked during their spare time in the Toy 
Shop repairing old toys brought in from home. In the 1930s the parents became an 
integral part of the Toy Shop, joining their youngsters on an assigned night to work 
together, making new toys as well as repairing old ones. Often the workshop 
nights began with a dinner at the School for individual classes and their parents. 

By 1960 the parents were only working with the lower school youngsters, on a 
Saturday, not at night as in the old days. The Toy Shop, unlike the Santa Claus 
party, did not survive into the 1970s and 1980s. 

For many early years a Christmas play was given annually by the eighth grade 
and, by the mid-1930s, the ninth grade. Often it was one of the English Coventry 
plays but sometimes a play written by students. By the 1980s the Christmas play 
was no longer enacted, but Hanukkah and Christmas music continue to be 
presented in a Morning Exercise concert each year, ending with "Silent Night" 
sung in darkness from the front lobby, a custom that started in the old gym of the 
early 1920s. 

Vaudeville began in 1924. Each homeroom was charged with coming up with an 
act. Proceeds went to the Student Council to finance its budget, and for many 
years the Council paid the athletic referees out of the Vaudeville profits. 

Lew Taylor remembers the role of the faculty in Vaudeville: 

The faculty was expected to help by producing at least one act for the show, 
as well as by being available for coaching or advising student acts if asked. 
Some of us were not too qualified for helping. At one point in a faculty act 
I was to come dancing in to the music to introduce Perry who was to sing a 
solo, but my Quaker ears and feet were a half beat behind, and that threw 
Perry clear off. That really brought the house down! 

But perhaps more than any other tradition, the Gilbert and Sullivan opera has 
created a sense of community across not just years but generations. Who cannot 
help but feel a bond with a youngster singing the same role you or your classmate 
did, even if fifty years have passed? The tradition was started in 1924 by Perry 
Dunlap Smith, who loved to sing, and Nina Babcock Bailey, one of the earliest 
music directors. 

Lew Taylor remembers: 

The Gilbert and Sullivan opera tradition was going strong when I joined 
the School in the fifth year of its existence [1925]. During the forty years 
that I was around, the G and S opera was given every year but one, and I 
never got tired of them. The spontaneity, lightness, humor, and fun of the 
Gilbert stories, and the appropriate but good music that Sullivan put with 
them, seemed to speak to and involve the high school age — and also, most 


of us ordinary mortals. The experience of singing and acting in those still- 
popular works of art has been an important stepping stone in the 
development of many successful professional musicians. What with 
staging, costuming, make-up, business management, tickets, programs, 
ushering, as well as the singing and acting on stage — the G and S opera 
was expected to be, and it was, a full high school production. 

The first opera to be tackled was The Pirates of Penzance. Louise Badgerow Dow '27 

remembers herself as a fifteen-year-old ninth grader at the time: 

Perry Smith and Miss Babcock, our music teacher, announced that the 
school was going to give an opera . . . and anyone wishing to try out for it 
was to report in. I had a very high, rather strong voice at that time and as a 
lark, I decided to try out. To my utter astonishment, I won the female lead, 
and the male lead was given to a senior. We worked and rehearsed 
diligently for several weeks and I was in seventh heaven. Just two weeks 
before the performance, Mr. Smith asked me to come to his office. I 
remember so clearly his sad expression, and hesitant but stem voice as he 
said, "Louise, I hate to do this to you, and to the show, but we have to take 
you out, because you are so far behind in your studies that you will never 
pass the year unless you spend every moment studying from here on in and 
our only choice is to put Jane Sutherland (a senior) in your place." 

I was a poor student, and my heart was really only in athletics and the arts, 
where I excelled, so — needless to say — the whole world dropped out 
from beneath me, and my ego was tom to shreds. The next two weeks in 
study hall I listened to the group rehearsing while I sat staring into space 
and crying inside until my heart would break — and study or concentrate I 
could not. 

The big night came and, sitting in the audience listening to Jane, a 
wonderful realization came over me. Jane was a shy, quiet, rather plain 
girl — but that night she shone like a real star, and people loved her and 
began to notice her for the first time. As a senior she deserved this new 
confidence and popularity, and I was happy for her. 

A few weeks later Perry called me back to his office and said, "Louise, had I 
known you were going to flunk out of ninth grade anyway, I would never 
have taken you out of the show." My only comment was, "Thank you, Mr. 
Smith, but wasn't it wonderful for Jane, she did such a great job!" 

The following year, once more in ninth grade, I won the lead in "The 
Gondoliers," but it wasn't quite the same as being in the very first opera. 

What memories of dashing excitement, and then crushing pain, those 
youthful days gave to me! 

In 1925, the year of The Gondoliers, a new organization took form, the Opera Club, 

whose purpose it was to take over the production tasks of future presentations. 


The board of seven student members undertook such functions as business, music, 
costumes, dramatics, properties, scenery and lighting. 

An interesting little side-note on the opera is that in accordance with the 
philosophy of the School against exhibitionism, the opera programs of the early 
years did not list the names of the performers but simply the name of the roles. So 
each time a new character came on stage a buzz would go through the audience 
seeking information about the name of the student performer. Perry Smith may 
have realized that this was a case where the philosophy was back-firing, but the 
custom remained well into the 1930s. 

By the third year of the opera, 1926, an editorial in The Purple and White asked a 
question that will continue to haunt opera productions for the next sixty-plus 
years: "Is the Opera Worth While?" Here was what was written: 

The third opera at North Shore [lolanthe] has been completed, and after 
the rush of work and excitement is over, many have come to wonder at the 
situation and to conjecture just what we gain and how much we must lose 
to execute this opera. 

In sizing up the whole affair we must weigh two factors: first that a great 
amount of work is put into the piece by nearly everyone in the upper three 
classes. This year we have given the best production of the three, which is 
but natural as we have learned much. We have, however, spent much more 
time and interrupted school more than before. Instead of keeping everyone 
up therefore, and producing better work, we have allowed ourselves to 
shirk school work, resulting in a bad pre-opera slump. In former years we 
stuck by the routine enough to keep up a high level until after the opera, 
when the school relaxed; and then grades went down. Now we have 
allowed ourselves to drop before the production, which will preclude the 
leisure or relaxation after it. The first consideration is, then, that we must 
sacrifice much to put on an opera. 

The second factor in the balance is the quality and kind of play we put on. 

If we put on an opera with well-given music and good dramatic values, 
with a real spirit behind it, we may congratulate ourselves and say that it is 
a good piece well done. An excellent performance is worth much to all 
concerned in experience, knowledge and self-reliance; but we must weigh 
values and see that we gain more than we lose. 

By 1927 it is apparent that the opera was considered worth continuing, especially 
with the new auditorium in which to present it. Patience was the selection and this 
was the first year for a double cast of leads. Because of the bigger stage, the chorus 
could be larger than before. Princess Ida was produced in 1928, continuing the 
practice of the double cast for the leads. And in 1929 the opera was Ruddigore. This 
was also Nina Babcock Bailey's last year at North Shore. 

Mrs. Bailey had contributed a great deal not only to the School but to the whole 
Winnetka community. Every May during National Music Week, she was one of 


the organizers and participants in the programs held at the Winnetka Community 
House. One year she took a boys' singing group and the glee club from the School, 
and another year she brought a group of North Shore students to sing Gilbert and 
Sullivan songs. In July of 1929 she and her students presented scenes from Gilbert 
and Sullivan operas at the Third Children's Afternoon at Ravinia with the Chicago 
Symphony Orchestra. An era closed with Mrs. Bailey's departure. 

Beginning School Organizations 

All of these activities and organizations were, of course, brand new in the twenties. 
Kay Mordock Adams '21 remembers: 

One of the things that we found so exciting about the new School was 
starting all the things that we later on were part of: the organizations, 
committees and school activities. I was there [at NSCDS] my junior and 
my senior year. 1 don't remember which year it was that Cox and Harding 
were running for President, but we had a big convention at the School. 
Everyone was quite involved in this. My father being a Democrat, I was for 
Cox, and I said that I wasn't coming to school if Cox didn't win. Well, he 
didn't win. 

I came to school, put my books in my locker and met some of the other girls 
who said, "Oh, we'll go, too." They put their books in their lockers and we 
took off without saying a word to anybody and walked four miles over to 
my grandfather's farm. Well, when we got there I said I have to tell my 
mother where I am and, of course, they all groaned about that, but I did and 
my mother said, "You all go right back to school!", so we all went back to 
school and were met by Mr. Smith. 

He said that we had made quite a lot of trouble for the School. Miss [Hazel] 
Cornell [in 1920-21 head of the girls' upper school and assistant 
administrator to PDS] was very much upset trying to make us like school, 
hoping that we loved it, and that she hadn't been able to eat her lunch and 
we had to go and apologize. [We tried to explain that] it was a lark and we 
had made some kind of a remark we weren't coming. Perry understood. 

But we did have to eventually have some kind of punishment. After 
talking it all over with Mr. Smith and Miss Cornell, it was finally decided 
. . . that whatever organizations we were head of or had as our 
responsibilities at the School, we had to resign them because we couldn't be 
that kind of example. So for the rest of the semester, someone else ran the 
organizations that we had started. We learned a lesson, I guess. 

Student Government 

Perry Smith addressed the idea of student government the very first day of school 
in 1919. According to "Five Mileposts," a class research paper by a group of junior 
girls in January 1925, Smith presented the challenge this way: "This is your school 


as well as mine, and I will be glad to give you the government of it as soon as you 
can present me with a suitable plan of government." 

Patty Ostrom Kohnen '60, as an American history student, described what 
happened next in her research paper, "Tradition at The North Shore Country Day 

By the Fall of 1920 the Student Council had begun its work. One of the 
things accomplished this first year was the founding of a school paper, 

The Purple and White. (There had been various committees formed the first 
day of school to decide such things as the school colors and songs — 
Northwestern's colors were chosen [purple and white] and "Wake the 
Echoes," a song from Girton School for Girls, was accepted with a few word 
revisions as was Harvard's "O'er the Fields.") 

The 1921 Mirror gives an account of the beginning of student government at North 

At the beginning of the fall term 1919, the first term of The North Shore 
Country Day School, it was proposed at a meeting of the entire School that 
a system of self-government be made. Accordingly, a committee for the 
drawing up of a constitution was elected. This committee set to work and 
after much delay submitted a constitution to the School. Upon approving it 
the classes elected their members to represent them according to the terms. 

The council thus formed met at the beginning of the 1920-21 school year 
and took command of the student body. They operated for about a month 
and then reported that there was something radically wrong with the whole 
scheme of representation, for with the lower school representatives in the 
council, action was greatly delayed. So the old constitution was made void, 
and work was begun on a new one. [It had become obvious that lower 
school students were too young to be meeting with the upper school 
students to try to deal with the same business.] 

This new constitution calls for an entirely different type of organization. 

There are two Assemblies, one of the entire upper, the other of the whole 
lower school. [At this point there was not a separate middle school. The 
seventh and eighth grades were with the upper school.] Each Assembly has 
its own Executive Committee elected from the whole Assembly instead of 
from classes as before. 

It is too soon to say just how well the new system of Student Government is 
working, as we have not had adequate time to give it a good trial; but we 
feel that this time we have a method of government of the pupils, for the 
pupils, and by the pupils, which will prove entirely satisfactory. 

The first upper school executive committee consisted of the following: Harriman 
Rogers (chairman), Beatrice Ripley (vice-chairman), Robert Clark (secretary), Mary 


Hall, Willoughby Walling, Malcom Stevenson and Sylvia Haven. The lower school 
executive committee: Doris Ferry (chairman), Billy McEwen (vice-chairman), Ralph 
Greenlee (secretary). Jack Couch, Gertrude Edwards, Eleanor Sherman and Louise 

The new constitution was published in the March 16, 1921, issue of The Purple and 
White , which was a "Special Constitution Issue." Several points should be noted in 
the document: 

The Committee shall be responsible to the Assembly [all of the students in 
the upper or the lower school] for proposing regulations concerning the 
moral standards and spirit of the school. 

No law which directly concerns the school as a whole shall go into effect 
without the approval of this Council. 

Each Assembly shall meet at least once a month [These are the town 


The constitution was printed on a large sheet of paper to provide space for every 
member of the school community to sign his or her name. 

This will be the original copy and will be carefully kept by the School. 

Every member of the school may feel in some degree responsible for this 
Constitution, and it is up to them whether it is to be a success or a failure. 

[This original copy has not been found.] 

By December of the following school year an editorial plea [The Purple and White, 
December 16, 1921] goes out to the students to behave themselves at the town 

Our town meetings need a good deal of thought. Think of what we do at 
these meetings and what we wish to do. We have a great advantage over 
many schools because of our self-government. When we have an 
advantage, let's not abuse it. 

Every Monday morning we file into the gym, everybody talking, laughing, 
and pushing his neighbors. Then Sylvia pounds on the table with her gavel, 
but it does not seem to make an impression. Why doesn't it? Because 
nobody is paying attention. Can't we stop the confusion and help those 
who are kind enough to run our meetings? 

When someone is making a motion or suggestion, many of us who feel 
contrary to it announce our disapproval by saying, "Sit down," "No," or by 
talking in an undertone. This disorder takes time, and many questions of 
importance have to be left on the table. Should we not have respect enough 
for the speaker to remain quiet while he states his ideas? 


Moreover there are too many useless discussions which take up the limited 
time of meetings, and the questions and answers are not to the point. These 
conditions could be improved by our giving more thought to what is being 
said. A law won't have to be discussed so long if we listen carefully. Half 
of the motions that are put before the house have been said over and over 

Let's get together on these town meetings. Remember our motto: 

"Everything to help and nothing to hinder." Let's bring our meetings up to 
the standard of the School. We can do it. 

The 1923 Mirror indicated that the three major issues of the year were the 
following: "the tardiness question, two plans for the Lost and Found, and the 
forming of a new Athletic Association Constitution." 

Athletic Association 

There had been some problem with getting an effective Athletic Association going 
during the first two years of the School. By 1922 a new association was formed. 
The purposes of the organization were to select official designs for the school 
emblems, to renew or cancel relationships with other schools, and to prevent 
misbehavior of the students either in the locker rooms or on the athletic fields. The 
new officers elected that year were Edward Hinchliff as president and John Shaw 
as vice president of the Boys' Association and Molly Radford as president and 
Margaret Brown as vice president of the Girls' Association. 

Dramatic Club 

There was never any question about Perry Dunlap Smith's commitment to 
dramatics as a powerful form of education. During the early years he directed the 
senior play. His devotion to the annual opera was expressed in a number of ways: 
helping direct, working with the freshmen girls on make-up squads, playing his 
bass with the orchestra, and some years even singing on stage with the chorus. 

And Morning Exercise had a continuous assortment of short plays and scenes from 
plays coming out of classes in French, Latin, history, and English in the upper 
school as well as many from the lower school. 

The Dramatic Club was formed the first year of the School's existence with Kay 
Mordock as president and Perry Smith as faculty advisor. They chose the play. The 
Romancers by Edmond Rostrand and cast it, but the spring schedule was too hectic 
to produce it. By the end of the second year of the School, the Dramatic Club had a 
full page in the Mirror and reports on its activities for the year: 

Those days when we climbed the stairs of Knollslea to sit at lunch together 
around the little board table in the Art Room seem long ago. There were 
five of us on the Executive Committee of the Dramatic Club: Elizabeth 
Jackson, Chairman; Harriman Rogers, Vice-Chairman; Sylvio Haven; John 
Mordock; Rush Butler and Katharine Mordock. Miss Taylor [head of the 


English Department 1920-25] was helping us choose a group of short plays 
to work up this year. Each Wednesday noon we read and discussed plays 
until three were finally sifted out of the many. 

Then came the days when a new committee, nominated by the old one and 
elected in Assembly, met in the English Room to judge the try-outs. The 
Upper School produced some good possibilities in actors, turning out with 
great enthusiasm. 

As the Year Book goes to press the casts for the three plays are completed, 
and we hope to put on during commencement week Lady Gregory's 
"Rising of the Moon," Suderman's "Faraway Princess" and Marjorie 
Cooke's "Lady Betty's Burglar." 

While the plays already given by different groups in the School do not 
come directly under the organization of the Dramatic Club, yet because 
they contribute definitely to our increasing knowledge of dramatic work, it 
is fitting to mention them here. The French classes have put on two short 
plays, "Cendrillon" and "Un noel francais"; and are planning a third, 

"Jeanne d'Arc," to be given at the Garden Party. The Christmas play, put 
on by the eighth grade, fitly celebrated that season, and the second grade 
added to the sum total a little dramatization of "Hansel and Gretel." 

By the third school year, the Dramatic Club had increased over eight times the 
original membership of five in 1920; fully one-half of the upper school students 
were now enrolled in the club. The double cast system was used for the first time 
in the plays as it was for the opera, thus expanding considerably the possibilities 
for participation. Staging, lighting, costuming, and business were also handled by 
the club. 

Other Clubs 

The 1922 Mirror included a page of new clubs: the Radio Club, Le Cercle Francais, 
Athletic Association and Boys' Club. The Radio Club was founded by a group of 
freshmen boys: 

The membership to the club is restricted, and every member must prove to 
be a worker. The old Tower of Knollslea Hall has been fixed up as an up-to- 
date receiving station, all the work having been done by the members. [The 
Knollslea tower will be removed in 1924 because it is no longer considered 
structurally safe.] The initiation fee was placed at fifty cents with an 
additional dues of twenty-five cents a month. Officers for 1922 are Albert 
Grotenhuis, President; Crilly Butler, Secretary; David Sampsell, Treasurer. 

Voila /' elite des clubs — le cercle francais! Mais le but du cercle est d'encourager 
la conversation francaise, et surtout d'ameliorer notre prononciation. 

The Boys' Club seemed a little precarious at this point. It was founded in 1921, but 
was not reorganized until spring of 1922. They did have a club room and pool 


table but didn't indicate where they were located. At the spring reorganization 
meeting, John Mordock was elected president and a dance was planned for June. 

The 1923 Mirror has a list of "Obituary Notices": 

In memory of our faithful, forceful, fraternal Federation Francaise, which 
passed away June 1922, in the Year of Our Lord. 

To the loving memory of our always awfully abused Athletic Association, 
which came to a sad end, September 1922, Anno Domini. 

In memory of our beloved, beneficial better Boys' Brotherhood, whose 
sudden demise was a cause of great sorrow. 

In memory of our really reverently revered Radio Ring, whose unexpected 
end was a source of lamentation to all. [The Radio Club will resume again 
during the 1940s when William Talley comes from the East to teach science.] 

Spring Traditions 

Dig Day 

Dig Day was held in April during the early years, a time to welcome spring and to 
beautify the grounds. The Purple and White describes Dig Day on April 22, 1926: 

The campus looked very different the next morning because many stuck to 
their jobs until they were finished. Most of the bushes and parkways were 
cleaned off by the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 10th grade girls. The senior boys, with 
the aid of Mr. Smith, pulled three stumps, and other classes spaded 
gardens, fixed sidewalks and even tore down a house. At the end of the 
work, all lined up and collected their ice cream cones. 

A major effort was made during this year to beautify the campus. A landscape 
architect by the name of Mr. Roy West came in to advise the School but warned 
that it would take the cooperation of the students to make a landscape plan work. 
The Purple and White [April 30, 1926] again pled the cause: 

. . . He [Mr. West] plans to leave, of course, most of the campus as a 
playground, sodding it in time, and to have grass and bushes close around 
all the buildings. The work was started sometime last fall around Dunlap 
[upper school]. The ground was seeded and bushes were planted. Miss 
Musson [business manager and in charge of buildings and grounds during 
the 1920s] and the committee reminded the school to keep off the newly 
planted space time and again, but bicycles were found thrown close in the 
bushes and the new grass was trampled on. All the time, effort and money 
was wasted, so they hesitate to continue carrying out the plans until some 
move is made by the school, showing their interest and willingness to help. 


The Grounds Committee has made it easy for us to show this by definitely 
fixing a few simple rules, and the least we can do is to mind them. 

Dig Day will go through a series of transformations, especially during the 1940s as 
it evolves into the now traditional fall Work Day. 

May Day 

May Day, another spring tradition, was inherited from the Parker School. The 
description of the first year's celebration is saved in Leaves [the first school 
yearbook, preceding Mirror ]: 

On the 19th of May we celebrated May Day. Everyone came dressed in 
white, making it seem quite like mid-summer, especially as it was a 
beautiful sunshiny day. The program was delightful. Among the events 
was the procession of the queen, her attendants and the rest of the school, 
the crowning of the poet by the Queen, various dances, including the dance 
around the May Pole by the High School, and a Robin Hood play, acted by 
the 5th and 6th grade boys. 

Louisa May Greeley [physical education teacher 1921-28] spent the month of May 
teaching dances and working on costumes for the May Day performance. 

In the years to come May Day will become quite controversial. The selection 
process of the May Queen and her attendants was very problematical. Different 
procedures were used at various times. Some people remember she was elected by 
the student body, others that she was selected by a committee. In retrospect, 
enthroning and crowning a student seems antithetical to the philosophy of the 
School which discouraged exhibitionism and competition against one's peers. Yet 
during the 1930s there was an attempt to bring some redeeming social value to the 
event by inviting young Polish children to the campus — but that is a story for the 

Field Day 

Filed Day was usually the first week of June, except in 1925 when it was united 
with May Day. It was a half-day of stunts, races and games with a picnic lunch. 
The first one is described in Leaves: 

In preparation for Field Day on June 4, the school was divided equally into 
two teams, Ted Robinson being captain of the "White," Harriman Rogers of 
the "Purple." At 12:30 there was a procession of the school to the front of 
Knollslea where a picnic lunch was eaten. Then each grade in turn gave a 
stunt, ranging from an Indian dance by the younger children to a take-off 
on the May Pole dance by some of the high school and "Robin Hood's 
Band" composed of several saxophones and banjos. 

The real events of Field Day began at 2 p.m. and lasted for an hour amid 
great excitement. There were 25 different dashes, obstacle races and tugs-of- 


war. Any event might have decided the victory, as first one team and then 
the other was ahead. The final score was 140-125 in favor of the "Purple." 

Field Day continues to be held in the 1980s but as a middle school event with other 
middle schools as guest participants. 

Commencement Week 

The final series of events for the school year took place during Commencement 
Week, which started the second year of the School, 1921. The first commencement 
in 1920 was a very simple event. There were only three graduates in the first senior 
class, two of them with the name Hall. By 1921 the festivities celebrating 
commencement were expanded to a week. On Saturday, June 4, was the Senior 
"Promenade." The following Monday, June 6, was Field Day. On Tuesday were 
the Dramatic Club plays. Wednesday was the School Luncheon; Thursday, the 
Garden Party for the Seniors; and Friday, Commencement at 4:30 p.m. This 
continued to be a fairly standard schedule during the 1920s. 

According to Patty Ostrom Kohnen '60, who did the 1960 research on North Shore 
traditions, the Senior Luncheon was originally served by the eighth graders. The 
seniors and their parents were the guests of honor, but the other upper school 
classes and the faculty are also present. The distribution of the new yearbooks was 
anticipated by everyone. 

Following the luncheon was a long-running tradition called "Stunts." In the 
beginning only the faculty and students participated; it would typically include 
skits poking fun at the seniors, the freshman girls doing something funny with the 
baby pictures of the seniors. One year (Miss Ostrom doesn't say when) the faculty 
decided to present Trial by jury for the Stunts and were helped by some of the 
parents. Perry Smith sang one of the leads. This was the beginning of parent 
participation. By 1944 the parents were on their own and the faculty had bowed 
out. The parents carried the Stunts until the late 1960s when it became too much. 

Another little ritual that accompanied the luncheon was "the singing up of the 
classes." The tune of the song came from Princeton. Many of the early traditions 
were inspired by Ivy League customs. The Garden Party in those years included a 
play by the faculty on the campus in the afternoon. In 1923 the play was Pyramus 
and Thisbe, with Perry Smith in a comic role wearing a red wig trimmed with 
poppies. The seniors loved it! The event ended with orange ice. 

The Commencement program from June 9, 1922, opened with the processional 
March from Aida played by the orchestra, including faculty and student 
performers. "America the Beautiful" was sung by the students and the audience. 
Hazel Cornell gave a reading from I Corinthians 12 and 13. The upper school girls 
sang "The Wanderer's Evening Song." Malcolm Stevenson, the class president, 
presented his message. The ninth and tenth grade girls sang two songs. Perry 
Dunlap Smith awarded the diplomas. And the students and audience sang the 
school song, "Wake the Echoes," together. The recessional, Schubert's "March 


Militaire," was played by the orchestra as the graduates paraded out of the old 
gymnasium and into the new world awaiting them. 

A Time to Build 

By the third year of the School's existence, 1921, the parents felt that the institution 
was strong enough to warrant the purchase from Francis King Cooke of the 
property of the old Girton School. Immediately, plans went into effect to start 
building a new upper school building, soon to be named Dunlap Hall. It was 
ready by fall of 1923. One student, a brother of a 1936 alumna, chanted his 
irreverent little piece of doggerel: 

Dunlap Hall was made in haste, 

Out of sand, and out of taste! 

But the description of the laying of the cornerstone in the 1923 Mirror was filled 
with youthful idealism: 

During Morning Exercise on Wednesday, January 24th [1923], the whole 
school assembled in front of the new building to witness a dramatic 
moment in the affairs of North Shore. It was the laying of the comer stone. 

On this stone was engraved "1922," the year that the building was started 
and the year of the graduating class that gave the comer stone. A small tin 
box lay on top of the stone in which were to be deposited many different 
kinds of papers concerning the school. 

There was a hush as Mr. Smith arose. He told us of the importance of the 
occasion and that we should all remember to live up to what we had 
decided to put into the box for future recognition. Then a representative 
from each class came forward one by one and each told the contents of the 
paper allowed for each class; some contained write-ups and pictures, others 
told of things they had done and those they looked forward to doing. The 
Alumni gave a contribution and the Executive Committee offered a copy of 
the minutes from the Town Meeting and the 1922 Year Book. Then the 
Faculty was represented by Mr. Smith, who put a paper in the box, together 
with a copy of the last edition of The Purple and White. Mr. Walling, 

President of the Parents' Association, spoke and put in some representative 
papers. Then all was ready. The final moment had come. 

The box was closed up and plastered in the stone by Mr. Walling with the 
help of some of the workmen. The stone was lifted and then, before anyone 
could realize it, the stone was dropped into place and plastered in. It was 
done. Sometime in the future the box will be discovered, but by whom? 
Centuries from now people will discover it and read what we did here. We 
all hope we will live up to the standards and ideals that we put in the 
corner stone. 


The new building was described in the same 1923 Mirror : 

From the floor plan it can be seen that the new building, as yet unnamed, 
will be very large and roomy. The first floor will be used by the girls and 
will contain the history, English, and Latin departments, six classrooms in 
all. The second floor will be the boys' and will have classrooms for French 
and mathematics and will be an exact duplicate of the first floor. The wood 
and print shops, science room and laboratory, together with a bicycle room 
and store rooms will comprise the basement. The third floor will be taken 
up by a huge study hall, 84 feet long by 36 wide. Throughout the building 
there will be no stationary furniture of any description. The study hall, 
which is excellently lighted by skylights and windows, will contain large 
and small tables for study. All furniture will be in fumed oak. 

In addition to a large library in the study hall, there will be cases of shelves 
in each room. Each room will also be equipped with small lockers for 
every student and a cloak closet. A bicycle room is also provided in the 
basement, with a runway beside each flight of stairs. 

The cost of all the work exclusive of fittings will be $150,000. Clark and 
Wolcott are the architects. 

The following year, 1924, the new gym was built and attached to the south end of 
the old gym. (When he came in 1947, Mac McCarty [physical education 1947- 
present] remembers standing at times in the open doorway between the two gyms 
to coach basketball in both.) The new gym became the boys' gym. On the lower 
level of the new building is the lunch room, where it remains almost seventy years 

During the summer of 1925 the plans had been to raze both Knollslea Hall and 
West Hall, the two oldest buildings on the campus. However, when the workmen 
come to tear down Knollslea, it was discovered to be more solidly built than 
anyone suspected, so the rotting porches were removed, as well as the cupola, and 
Knollslea survived another thirty-five years. Why West Hall was not demolished 
at this point is not clear, perhaps because the classroom space was needed. There 
was some thought of enlarging Eliot Hall, but that plan was never carried out. 

Further Changes on the Campus 

By spring of 1926 it was becoming apparent that the old gym was woefully 
insufficient to double as an auditorium. Daily Morning Exercise involved setting 
up and taking down folding chairs by a rotation of students. If there was an 
evening program, chairs had again to be put up following afternoon sports. 
Reasons for a new building were spelled out in a May 1926 issue of The Purple and 


The opinion of the parents, directors and teachers is that a new auditorium 
is needed. Already $50,000 have been given, out of $100,000 needed to start 
things going. 

There are many good reasons why we need an auditorium. The fire 
marshal of Winnetka has recommended a new auditorium with fixed seats 
because if there was a fire, fixed seats would help to prevent a panic. The 
girls' gymnasium work is interrupted by rehearsals, and dramatics and 
singing are also hampered. 

Tentative plans have been made which include a sloping floor, 500-600 
fixed seats, a modem stage with a plaster dome, scenery and costume 
rooms, an orchestra pit, and a lobby or trophy room for informal meetings. 

If an auditorium is built, it will be the last of all the necessary units of the 

How amazed this young journalist would have been had he or she realized how 
untrue the concluding assumption turned out to be. But the money was raised 
remarkably quickly. A subscription was started at one of the meetings of the 
Parents' Association and every parent in the School subscribed something. In only 
two months, $100,000 was raised. By December 1926, the comer stone was laid. 
Ayres Boal, chairman of the building committee, officiated at the ceremony, along 
with Perry Smith. 

The stately pillar-fronted auditorium, which was to become the symbol for the 
School, was completed in 1927. It was attached to the north end of the old gym. 

In 1927 the Village of Winnetka made an arrangement with the School, agreeing to 
give Diller Street (originally a public street which cut the present campus in half) to 
the School in exchange for the property next to the Chicago and North Western 
railway tracks where the athletic fields had been. At the same time the parents 
purchased from Francis King Cook of the old Girton School the block of land 
between Diller Street and Willow Road, thereby providing an area for the new 
athletic fields. This was the area that was covered by the com field, grape arbors 
and a beautiful stand of oak trees. The old farm house at the northwest end of this 
piece of land was renovated and became the headmaster's house. 

That same year, Leicester Hall was moved from north of Diller Street (where the 
tennis courts have been located since the 1970s) to the southeast comer of the 
campus, both to secure a little more privacy for the residents of the building and to 
open up more space for the playing fields. 

By the end of the decade, the campus of five buildings had grown to eight: 
Knollslea and Leicester Halls, the old gymnasium, Eliot and West Halls — all left 
over from Girton School — plus Dunlap Hall (as the new upper school building 
was called), the new boys' gymnasium and the auditorium. Leicester Hall was now 
in a new location, and the athletic fields were created on the north end of the 


campus by bringing in more than 10,000 cubic yards of soil to level that area 

During the twenties, the School had in all essential particulars been created. Perry 
Smith had somehow brought together the materials for his dream. His students of 
1920 had an experience not so very different from students of 1990. Elbridge 
Anderson '25 remembers the life of a North Shore upper school student during the 
early 1920s: 

. . . the entire NSCDS experience is behind a curtain of sunshine swimming 
with the golden dust of long ago, worlds away back from Hard Rock let 
alone New Wave or Punk . . . cozy memories of everybody young and full 
of anticipation for the opening of the school year in the fall of '21, 
beginning Latin, for instance, in what had obviously served as a bedroom in 
the old mansion, Knollslea Hall ... the lunch room in one or two larger 
rooms downstairs. I can hear the clatter and chatter. I can almost see the 
pleasant face of the woman who managed it, almost remember her name. 

But Perry Dunlap Smith just joins our table . . . laughter over somebody's 
slip of the tongue . . . I'm having a banana for dessert 

Again through the golden haze I catch flashes of a study hall upstairs in 
West Hall and of the earliest Morning Ex's being held there before the old 
Girton School gym came into regular use for the same, with folding chairs 
instead of desk-arm chairs, and with the stage at its south end graced from 
time to time by name personages in various subjects and fields which Perry 
Dunlap Smith made a point of presenting to our morning minds. The 
Helen Keller addressed us, her voice the rich tone of courage. Prominent 
musicians came with performance and lecture. 

An Irish poet, renowned at the time and likely now though I can't catch his 
name down the corridor of at least sixty years, read his "Rose in the wind, 
rose in the wind." I've never forgotten. Louise Lackner's grandmother 
recounted her personal experience of the Chicago fire. She had not seen 
Mrs. O'Leary's cow. 

But I'm hearing a climaxing roar from down the other side of Green Bay 
Road, some big happening in the football game with Francis W. Parker 
School. Constituents are being held back from actually joining the field by 
our portable iron stake and wire fence, while A1 Grotenhuis, Holden 
Anderson, Percy Davis — just to mention three of our stars — are out to 
wake the echoes, wake the echoes along the old north shore. Holden is also 
in basketball with the then "in" shots from down near the floor, a big arch 
up and over, as opposed to the slam-dunk. I don't remember any pole 
vault, but we had high jump, javelin and discus. I won the high jump (long 
legs) and the discus (long arms) which I threw so unexpectedly far that if 
some little fellow on campus hadn't leaned forward to pick up a ball, well, 
it would have taken me a bit longer to believe in God, the discus contesting 
the air space where his head had been the moment before. 


I don't remember baseball but I'm sure we had it. I don't remember who 
was sports coach in which year, but I believe both Jack Smith and Jack 
Anderson were in from time to time. Miss Greeley, I'm sure, was coach for 
the girls' field hockey team. I can still hear an organized distant cheer from 
the same football game in progress, audible, but really unintelligible — 
written in 405 B.C. in onomatopoetic Greek as a noisily spoken chorus in 
"The Frogs" by Aristophanes. What cultural advantages! Although it 
ended in a YEA TEAM, or some such. 

In that innovative school year 1923-24, there were at least two and perhaps 
three firsts. To begin with we were in the new upper school classroom 
building, east of the old gym with Julia Childs' Latin class, Madam 
Stoughton's French (my everyday speech picking up words from each), and 
Millicent Taylor's English, which was an inspiration. She later became 
secretary to Carl Sandburg. 

I believe Mr. Price had the science room, but I clearly remember Mr. Riddle 
in charge of the big new upstairs study hall. Extending a closed hand, he 
would sidle up to whisper, "A little token of my affection and esteem," then 
slip you a handful of paper bits ready for the wastebasket. 

But the first of the firsts of 1923-24 was the first Vaudeville, "Footlights and 
Fancies," followed by a maybe first senior play which I believe was "The 
Importance of Being Earnest," followed or preceded by the March 1924 
definitely first Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "The Pirates of Penzance." 

That little gym stage was coming into its own and the creative life of 
NSCDS along with it, the beginnings of, as Francis Stanton so perceptively 
stated, "those extraordinary collaboratives between students, faculty and 
parents, which were an early hallmark of The North Shore Country Day 

Almost already like a memory, the Senior Prom of 1925 seemed to rear its 
lovely head with all its trappings, right on schedule and apparently out of 
nothing. It was a dream idea from some senior, so good that suddenly the 
entire "collaborative" class of 1925 was on its hands and knees on the gym 
floor, cutting out huge green and brown paper grape leaves, or blowing up 
regular sized purple balloons, to be gathered of course into clusters, 
transforming the everyday gym into a truly fantastic grape arbor, a silver 
disc full moon pinned up in the center of the blue curtain at the back of the 
stage, which with Crilly Butler's blessed color floodlights, one in each wing, 
blossomed into an extra, entirely unforeseen magic. The silver moon would 
gradually change its color from one light's rose pink to the other light's 
silvery green, as you danced from one side of the gym to the other. It was 
beautiful everywhere under the grape balloons. 

In that year the Senior Prom was a Springtime-of-Life ritual, the festive, 
absolute deadline for doffing knicker suits, the time to step out in white 
flannels with blue jacket, and try to pretend nothing had happened. It was 


a first step on the way to the first three-piece or rather four-piece suit 
(counting two pair of long pants) for college. 

Elbridge Anderson went out into the world with his classmates that June. Decades 
of classes were to follow: to sit and joke with each other over lunch, to struggle 
over Latin and French, to play with their teammates on the athletic field, to plan 
the prom ... to grow up — perhaps without even noticing. 

By the end of the decade it was apparent that The North Shore Country Day School 
was an experiment that was going to work. A curriculum had been developed 
which stimulated teachers and students alike to a love of learning. Everything said 
and written by faculty and families of those days testifies to a joyous and energetic 
sense of community. Three new buildings had been built. The graduating class 
had grown from three in 1920 to twenty-one in 1929. Clubs and activities had been 
tried. Publications had come out of the school's printing shop. Several faculty 
members had become heads of schools elsewhere. And rituals and traditions had 
woven their way into the fabric of the lives of the students in such a way that they 
would be drawn back to this place years later. As Lynn Williams related in 1967 at 
the memorial service for Perry Dunlap Smith: 

The School must have been poor then, though none of us who were 
students knew it or thought about it. For the young headmaster these must 
have been difficult times, but surely also they were the best of times. 

If Perry Smith, in those days, was becoming a leader of a movement in 
education, we didn't know it. To us he was merely trying to make this the 
best school his mind and energy could embrace. 

Dunlap Hall's cornerstone was laid in 1922. 


THE THIRTIES: Experimentation and Confirmation 

The North Shore Country Day School was created in response to a 
demand on the part of a large group of parents for a school of the so-called 
progressive type" which, at the same time, prepared pupils for the 
eastern colleges thus enabling parents of this locality to enter their children 
in eastern colleges without having to send them, for preparatory work, 
away from home. The School is, therefore, definitely committed to 
"progressive principles" in education and also 
to meeting the college requirements. 

School Leaflet 

So begins a small three-page leaflet describing the School which was printed 
during the 1929-30 school year and used during the 1930s. There was no hesitation 
at this time to identify the School as progressive; however, care was taken to be 
quite specific about the meaning of the concept. It was not incompatible to be both 
progressive and college preparatory, the leaflet assured potential parents. To add 
conviction to that promise, a list of colleges attended by North Shore graduates 
was included. 

Attitude Toward the Child 

This type of education, the leaflet explained, was not a specific method of teaching 
but rather a special attitude toward the child: 

... the School believes that there is, within each child, a plan of growth, 
which if allowed to unfold, will give realization to the greatest number of 
possibilities within him. From this it follows that the function of the School 
and the teacher is to present right conditions for growth rather than to force 
the child into unnatural and abnormal activities; that the teacher, then, 
must study each child to find the conditions best suited to furthering his 
development, and must see that he is surrounded as far as possible by these 

If not a "specific method of teaching," this description certainly implied an attitude 
toward teaching different from the recitation-oriented lessons so typical of 
traditional schools. But that did not mean, the pamphlet emphasized, that teachers 
simply let the students do only what they wanted to do. The progressive theory 
held that the child "is best satisfied when working steadily at a task which gives 
him opportunity for growth." What the teacher must do is "attempt to show the 
pupil the real value of the task at hand by connecting it with the child's own 
interests." When children are interested in what they are doing, they tackle a task 
with energy and enthusiasm. The reward comes from the satisfaction of 
accomplishing the task. Artificial rewards and arbitrary punishments are avoided. 


As a practical expression of progressive theory. The North Shore Country Day 
School has never had an honor roll or academic awards or, prior to 1951, sports 
trophies. The trophies came to be accepted because they were for teams, not 
individuals. Academic grades were intended to indicate the student's growth, not 
meant to be competitive measurements. 

Also integral to progressive theory was the importance of community life, 
expressed in the "social motive." Perry Smith explained what he meant: "the 
desire of the child to be of use to other members of his group and to his group as a 
whole." The motto of the School was "Live and Serve." Practical expressions were 
such activities as the Toy Shop, Dig Day and Morning Exercise. 

Modified Coeducation 

In the same leaflet. Smith also explained "modified coeducation" to parents. This 
was an experiment he developed during the early years of the School's existence, 
based on his study of coeducation in England, Germany and the United States. 
Smith felt that his adaptation met the needs of his students more completely than 
either total segregation of the sexes or indiscriminate mixing of adolescents. He 
then described its principles: 

First, that the large family atmosphere, where young and old learn to work 
and play together and to share responsibilities, joys and sorrows is the most 
natural environment for a true adjustment of the sexes to each other during 
adolescence. That living in close contact with nature and being responsible 
for the care of animals, as was the lot of most children brought up in the 
country, is also a great factor in making that adjustment. 

Second, that during early adolescence boys and girls become self-conscious 
and shy and should have ample opportunity to withdraw from the presence 
of the opposite sex if they wish to. 

Third, that during this period it is unwise to bring the boys and girls 
together except for common interests which are of sufficient strength to 
overcome the natural excitement or timidity which that age child feels on 
being in the presence of the opposite sex. 

Fourth, that boys and girls of that age should not be placed in recitations or 
other situations together where one sex has an obvious advantage over the 

Fifth, that while the young men and women in this formative period are apt 
to be shy and reticent about their inner thoughts and aspirations, most of 
them are anxious to and greatly benefit by talking over such matters if 
given the opportunity under satisfactory conditions. 


The acceptance of these principles brings about at present the following 
practices in the School: The pupils of all ages have frequent contacts with 
each other and share many common interests. The high school children are 
not segregated from the lower school. [Middle school at this point was not 
yet a separate entity.] There are large grounds and many domestic pets for 
which the children care, such as ring doves, canaries, guinea pigs, rabbits, 
sheep, chickens, ducks, pigs, and tropical fish. 

During the first six years the boys and girls share the same grade rooms, 
but during the six years of upper school the boys' home rooms are on the 
second floor, with a man teacher in charge of each, while the girls' home 
rooms are on the first floor under the care of women teachers. This gives 
opportunity to withdraw from the opposite sex if it is desired. 

During the seventh grade year the boys and girls recite together except in 
mathematics and science. In eighth grade they are separated in all classes 
except English and history. In the ninth grade they do not recite together at 
all except for dramatics. In the tenth grade they come together again in 
English and history. In the eleventh grade and twelfth grade they are 
together in all subjects except science. 

In each of the four high school grades weekly group meetings are held, the 
boys and girls meeting separately, in which intimate questions of social 
conduct, morals, religion, ethics, school standards, and sex are discussed 
under the guidance of an adult. These meetings have seemed very helpful 
in building personal standards and in making satisfactory adjustments to 
life. [This is the famous "SS" — Social Standards — course taught for years 
by Perry Smith.] 

The above practices seem to produce a natural and healthy attitude between 
the boys and the girls and a far better understanding of each other's 
characteristics than is usually found in high school. The School will 
continue to study the problem and seek to work out better and better ways 
of assisting its pupils in making these difficult and highly important 

During the autumn of 1950 (as he wrote in the December 1950 Notes) Perry Smith 
would be asked to speak on the subject of coeducation at several schools: Francis 
W. Parker School of Chicago, Grosse Pointe Country Day School of Michigan and 
the Detroit University School. He was joined by Dr. Burton Fowler, headmaster of 
Germantown Friends School of Philadelphia in a lecture and discussion on this 
topic. Smith remembered that two years prior to that he and Dr. Fowler went to 
Wilmington, Delaware, to debate the same topic with Dr. Claude Fuess, 
headmaster of Andover, Massachusetts, and Dr. George Van Santvoord, 
headmaster of Hotchkiss. The discussion was aired by a local radio network. 

But all of this came later. The 1930s were still a time of experimentation. 


Preparation for College 

One of the foremost experiments at the time of the founding of the School was 
whether the country day plan could offer adequate preparation for college. Could 
it come up to the standards which parents in Winnetka expected? Perry Smith 
recalled this early concern when he wrote one of his monthly essays for a January 
1949 issue of Notes: 

... In those days it was generally believed that day schools were heavily 
handicapped in bringing their students up to college standards by the fact 
that they did not have twenty-four-hour supervision of their pupils, and by 
the fact that children living at home were exposed to the distractions of city 
or suburban life. In the main, day schools could not create and maintain 
the intense esprit de corps, or school spirit, of which boarding schools were 
extremely proud. 

. . . The country day schools maintained . . . [that] the profound and rapid 
changes which resulted from the post-war [World War I] crises demanded 
a more realistic and authentic type of educational experience than the 
boarding schools could provide. Far from fearing the direct contacts that 
young people at home had with the actual living conditions, they welcomed 
them as an opportunity to become adjusted to the world as it was, 
provided, of course, that both home and school accepted the responsibility 
of guiding these young people in their attempts to grapple with the realities 
of living and also helped them to understand and interpret the meaning of 
the changes and experiences which they met. 

. . . The matter of school spirit, too, as was revealed with the progress in 
mental hygiene and psychology, was not as healthy a factor as we had 
supposed it to be. It was true it could be intensified easily in groups of 
young people living closely together and pretty well cut off from the 
normal outlets of a real community life, but this might easily become little 
more than mass hysteria, which is a particularly unhealthful emotional 
experience for adolescents. 

. . . [School spirit] is far less apt to [get out of hand] in a situation which 
allows for normal living with adults and little children, all concerned with 
and pursuing their own normal activities, rather than with an isolated 
group of students all at nearly one stage of development and all of the same 

The other matter which faced the founders of our School was the problem 
of whether or not it was possible to meet the formal entrance requirements 
for college and still maintain what used to be known as "progressive" 
principles in teaching, to which our School has been committed from the 
start. We believed that it was the duty of a school to assist in the 
development of the whole child and not just his intellectual development. 

This was a decidedly startling idea in 1919 although it is hard to realize it 


now [1949] when all good schools with any pretence of being up-to-date 
accept this principle without question. The fear was that if time were 
devoted to the "non-academic" subjects such as music, art, dramatics and 
handicrafts, the "fundamental" subjects such as grammar, arithmetic and 
foreign languages would suffer. Many so-called "progressive" schools 
abandoned their principles for all students who were preparing to meet the 
college entrance examinations. For those individuals the School fell back on 
the old method of constant repetition and unthinking drill. 

We decided to stick to our principles. We believed that a student who was 
truly interested in what he was doing, who understood its relationship to 
his whole life, who had had ample opportunity to practice making 
considered decisions affecting his own interests and, above all, who had 
achieved a well-rounded and happily integrated personality would be far 
better equipped to do well in college and to further his educational progress. 

The Eight-Year Study 

After almost thirty years [1919-49] of adherence to these principles, it would 
seem that we were fully justified in our decision; for not only our graduates 
but also those of other schools who have followed these principles have 
achieved a marked success in college. The careful records kept under a 
grant from the Carnegie Foundation in the famous "Thirty Schools 
Experiment" over a period of eight years [1930-38] furnish specific proof. 

This study not only showed the general averages of the thousands of 
students from the two types of schools which were compared, but also 
broke these down into specific subject fields, such as English, Chemistry, 

Latin, et cetera. The significant fact was revealed that while the differences 
were slight, the students from the more liberal schools excelled the others in 
every one of the subject fields. 

In addition to these factors, there has been one other that has been working 
in our favor in the matter of college preparation which is that the colleges 
themselves have been moving in this same direction. They no longer judge 
solely by examination marks as they used to do, nor even by examination 
and school marks. They rather seek to obtain a picture of the whole student, 
his interests and extra-curricular activities as well as his academic 
achievement. They want to know what the whole picture looks like and 
seek a student that has a clear-cut and well-balanced pattern, showing 
evidence of ability, purpose and promise. It is pleasant to realize that today 
the colleges seek the same ends as we do and that they recognize the 
similarity of our aims and methods to their own. 

The "Eight-Year Study" gave those secondary schools experimenting with the so- 
called new education the courage to continue in their convictions. The North Shore 
Country Day School was one of the four original schools to initiate the study 
through the Commission on the Relation of Schools and Colleges, a project of the 


Progressive Education Association. The Commission was concerned with the 
generally poor quality of secondary education, and the few progressive secondary 
schools in existence at that time were concerned about freeing their students from 
competitive marks and the narrow, rigid requirements for college entrance. Thus 
far. Perry Smith had good evidence that North Shore students were being admitted 
to eastern establishment colleges and doing very well. "When our group therefore 
asked for the privilege of freedom to experiment with an even broader 
curriculum," he wrote in the November 1939 Notes, "we appealed on the basis of 
the record of our students then in college." 

NSCDS, along with twenty-nine other schools, were given eight years to prove 
their point. The study was funded by the Carnegie Foundation and the Rockefeller 
General Education Board. The methodology was described by Smith in the same 

The Commission interviewed each [college] student [alumni from each of 
the thirty schools] twice a year, interviewed his professors, and secured his 
records from the college office. Then they selected an equal number of 
students who entered college from the more orthodox schools, matching 
them student for student as to intelligence, age, sex and home environment 
with the students from our schools. 

The article also highlights the findings: 

A comparison between the two groups as to marks received in college 
showed the students from our group of schools not only averaging higher 
in the total grades, but actually averaging higher in every single subject 
than the students from the conservative schools. This difference was 
particularly marked in English, the humanities and the physical sciences. 

Even more significant was the fact that, based on intelligence (or "scholastic 
aptitude") alone, the students from our type of school did far better than 
predicted, in twice as many cases as the students from the orthodox schools. 
Both President Park of Bryn Mawr and Dean Hawkes of Columbia, who 
were present at the conference, seemed to attribute this to the greater 
interest and enthusiasm which our students seem to bring with them to 
college and which as the Dean said, "they do not easily lose after entrance." 

In non-academic pursuits there were also gratifying facts disclosed when 
the two groups of matched students were compared. The students from our 
type of schools were found to be "more frequent participants in a wider 
range of activities" than those from the conservative group. They had a 
more active interest in activities concerned with contemporary affairs. 

(This sort of thing was frequently disliked by the other group.) There was 
not a single area of organized campus activities in which the graduates of 
the more conservative type of school showed significantly more activity. 

In informal activities and hobbies, our group showed more activity than the 
other in intellectual hobbies, creative and aesthetic experience and in social 


pastimes. They seemed to have more "likes" and the other group more 
"dislikes." When it came to "problems" the group from our type of school 
had "considerably fewer problems in the areas of study methods and 
organization of time/' a highly important item. 

The report concluded that "the students in the S group (our type of schools) 
either make simply an easier adaptation to their new environment or have 
gone a step farther and have actually thought through and are acting in 
terms of their own values." 

Influence of the Thirty-School Study 

In 1949 the principals of each of the thirty schools received a letter from the 
Riverside (California) Board of Education inquiring about the Eight-Year Study 
and making the following request: 

Your school . . . was one of the participating schools in the Eight-Year Study. 
The troublous years between 1938 and 1949 made such demands upon the 
secondary school leaders of America that many of us have been unable to 
learn of the significance of this study. Would you be willing to undertake a 
brief summary statement of the present status of this program in your 

The writer of the letter, Carl C. Cress, Assistant Superintendent of the Riverside 
City Schools, outlined six questions which he asked to be considered. Perry Smith 
dealt with each. To the first question of whether "this study played a significant 
role in the current program of your school," Smith wrote: 

Inasmuch as our school was one of the four original schools to start the 
Study, we had already set up the type of program which, to most of the 
other members of the group of thirty, was new. For us the Study did not 
necessitate any vast change in our curriculum. We had been sending boys 
and girls to college for some fifteen or twenty years with the type of 
curriculum that the Study contemplated and we had found that it did not 
handicap them in the eyes of the admissions committees, on the one hand, 
and on the other hand, it certainly aided them very much in their 
performance after they got to college. Therefore, I can answer your 
question by saying that I don't think the Study played a significant role in 
the current program of this school for we merely continued what we were 
already doing. But it did mean that we could do it much more easily and 
more freely than we did before and, therefore, it was a distinct help. 

The second question was, "Are you able to maintain comparable entrance relations 
with the colleges and universities that serve your students?" Smith replied: 

Our relations with the admissions officers of the colleges and universities to 
which our students usually apply have continued to be extraordinarily 


strong; in fact, I think I am safe in saying that had it not been for the fact 
that our relations were strong, as were those of the three other schools who 
helped to initiate the Study, the colleges would not have been willing to 
undertake the risk. The Study itself certainly documented our claim that 
the type of education we were giving the boys and girls strengthened their 
preparation for college and, therefore, I think our relations with the colleges 
are even better than they had been. I have seen no tendency on the part of 
any college to withdraw their confidence in our procedure. 

The third question asked whether "your school community [is] maintaining its 
enthusiasm for this program." The response was that: 

The school community is maintaining its enthusiasm for it has never had 
anything else. The school was founded with this type of program in mind 
thirty-one years ago and has been doing it ever since. 

The fourth question asked about the effect of the study on school morale. 

I would rate our school morale as high, probably the highest it has ever 
been. [This is written in 1949.] I do not attribute this, except very slightly, 
to the influence of the Eight-Year Study. Frankly, there were so many 
things about the Study itself, and the details of its administration and the 
procedures that it used of which we did not approve, that in some ways our 
morale was lowered by the Study. We felt that many of the thirty schools 
failed to understand the spirit and purpose of the Study quite badly and 
actually brought unfortunate criticisms to the group rather than the reverse. 

In response to the question about benefits. Smith responded: 

... it strengthened our hand and our belief in what we were doing. We no 
longer have to argue with parents about the type of program we are giving 
our students because of the parents' fear that the colleges will not approve. 
We now have documentary proof that the colleges do accept our students 
eagerly and the type of program which we give them. 

The final question asked whether "this study [has] any meaning for secondary 
education throughout the nation?" It does have meaning was the response, but it 
"is very generally misunderstood." Smith warned that any school trying this type 
of experiment must "understand the purpose and philosophy of the experiment 
thoroughly" and have the "necessary experience." A careful reading of the report 
of the Study, he pointed out, reveals that: 

. . . when schools which are well run and adequately backed are given an 
opportunity to experiment and try new things, they do so in a rather careful 
and understanding way. The colleges do not need to fear their going to 
extremes. . . . The pupils who have had such experimental programs on the 
whole tend to do better than pupils who have not, although this difference 
is very slight indeed. 


Probably to a great extent as a result of the Eight-Year Study, a very interesting 
change took place in the relationship between high schools and colleges, at least 
during the 1940s and 1950s before the deluge of college applications in the 1960s. 
That change was made evident at a conference which Perry Smith attended in the 
spring of 1954 at Kenyon College. The conference was "subsidized by the Ford 
Foundation," he wrote in the May 1954 Notes : 

... to consider ways and means of granting advanced standing in colleges 
to students who have been graduated from what they were pleased to call 
the better preparatory schools, which, like ours, boast outstanding courses 
such as our Senior English, United States History, fourth year German and 

. . . Twelve colleges had agreed to consider the possibility of awarding 
advanced standing in various courses to the graduates of schools like ours 
whose students have over the past years shown that they were so well 
prepared that many of the college freshman courses were almost a 
repetition of what they had already mastered in school. In order to avoid 
this waste, these colleges are now ready to grant such students advanced 
standing and place them in advanced sections of those subjects in which they 
qualify. Their right to receive this privilege would be determined by 
special examinations at first, but the college professors declared that in each 
of these fields they did not consider the mere passing of examinations as 
adequate tests. 

They would rather take the word of the teacher who knew the student best 
and also have a full report from the school involved, for they felt that if the 
course was really valuable enough for advanced credit, it would achieve far 
more than merely add to the students' fund of information and factual 
knowledge. It would actually contribute, through broadening his vision 
and deepening his understanding, to his emotional growth and personality 
development. And here the college authorities made an astonishing 
announcement. It was that they considered that the high school teacher was 
far better equipped to handle the problems of a sixteen- or seventeen-year- 
old and to meet his needs than the college teachers were. This was a 
complete reversal of position from the one they had held during the "Thirty 
School Experiment" of twenty years ago. Then they were very scornful of 
all high school teaching and expressed themselves in no uncertain terms on 
the point that no real learning took place before reaching college; all high 
school teaching was merely laying the groundwork of drills and techniques 
which were to be used later in college. 

President Chalmers of Kenyon, who presided at the conference, called my 
attention to the fact that I was the only surviving organizer and participant 
of the "Thirty School Experiment" who was present at the conference, so I 
was glad to point out this happy and surprising change of attitude which 
had transformed the college professors in the intervening years. In fact, I 


feel very strongly that this change is one of the most valuable of the 
accomplishments for which the "Thirty School Experiment" is responsible, 
and I am proud of the fact that our School contributed so much to the 
success of that venture. 

The Francis W. Parker School was also involved in the Eight-Year Study. Jack 
Ellison, who came to the Parker faculty in 1937 and was principal of Parker from 
1967 until 1972, participated in the Study. He remembered that Hazel Cornell, 
(head of the girls' upper school when NSCDS opened, who went to Parker in 1924 
and became an administrator) met with faculty members once a week at lunch 
during the Study to discuss their role. Public schools as well as private were 
involved. Ellison recalled prominent figures visiting the schools as consultants and 
encouraging the faculty. 

The Study took place during the Depression when colleges were willing to bend. 
No grades were given, but there were reports to write on each student indicating 
good, satisfactory or poor, along with a commentary. After it was over, Ellison 
commented, grades, testing and competition came back, at least that was the case 
at Parker. Ellison felt that NSCDS did not change its curriculum as much as Parker 
did during the experiment. 

Curricular Experiments 

There were several interesting curricular experiments at North Shore, however, 
which may or may not have come as a result of the Study. A course that did 
develop in connection with the Study was that of David Corkran (English 
department 1926^44). An interdisciplinary course in history and literature, it 
focused on the ideas of liberty, democracy, individualism and social responsibility 
or social control. Geared to the senior level, it was eventually the only course he 

Nathaniel French, a new young teacher in 1938 (later headmaster 1954-68) and 
Daniel Wells '29 (also an intern teacher 1938-39) developed a course called "Wages 
and Housing," described in the December 1938 Notes: 

North Shore students live in suburbs largely residential in character and 
have little or no contact with the world at work. Yet now, perhaps more 
than ever, it is important for everyone to have some realization of the 
meaning of production, wages and hours, management of industry and 

To meet this need, we are arranging a series of trips to Chicago, a huge 
laboratory offering almost limitless possibilities for observation and study. 

The core subject for the series will be the interrelation of wages and housing. 

The first trip is planned for the Hull House district and the south side 
Negro section on Saturday, December 3rd [1938]. The series will attempt 


to include the steel mills, the stock yards, coal mines, automobile assembly 
plants, a shirt factory, and others. An effort will be made to have presented 
at each plant the points of view of all branches of industry by men active in 
their fields. 

The parents' part in this program is twofold: first, to send a note of 
permission with the child if he wishes to participate; second, we would 
appreciate hearing from any father who has a plant which he would be 
willing to have us visit. 

Questioning a number of alumni of that time has turned up no one who 
participated in this project. Is it possible that such a promising project was never 
able to be carried out? A similar project, however, was developed for the younger 
grades. Charles Haas '31 remembered: 

At some time around fifth or sixth grades, our class had a project of visiting 
offices and factories in Chicago to which our families could gain us 
admission. (The purpose at that time was industrial rather than 
sociological.) Cousins of mine owned and managed the Eisendrath Glove 
Company which tanned hides from which they fabricated all kinds of 
leather goods — gloves and handbags, for example. Our class visited the 
Chicago tannery and factory, and I think I wrote a report on the operation. 

Another creative project was undertaken by the ninth grade social studies class 
during the fall of 1939. It was an historic, social and economic survey of the village 
of Winnetka. The class developed a questionnaire and divided Winnetka into 
sections, with two students assigned to each section. During class time the 
students went to their section of town — this was an era when someone was home 
during the day — and interviewed one out of every five families, gathering 
information such as the number of children per family, number of maids, cars, 
radios, labor saving devices (the following devices were considered: mangles, 
sewing machines, vacuum cleaners and washing machines) and number of rooms 
per family. 

The results of the survey are very revealing of Winnetka of the late 1930s: The 
average number of persons per family was 4.1; number of children, 1.7; number of 
servants, .9; cars, 1.3; radios, 2.7; labor-saving devices, 2.8; and rooms per family, 
8.6. The students not only had the experience of the library research and field 
work but also that of putting together the information in a typed booklet with 
delightful hand-drawn illustrations. 

Another practical project came about when Bill Daughaday '36 and a buddy, as 
high school juniors, were complaining about the cafeteria food. Perry Smith told 
them to take a week off from classes and make a thorough study of the cafeteria, 
everything from the selection of menus to purchase of food and finances. They 
compared their findings with Parker and another school. As a result of the study, 
the manager of the cafeteria was fired; he apparently had been pocketing part of 
the receipts. 


Phil Starr '36 remembers that grades during that time period were referred to as 
Group I (A), Group II (B), Group III (C), et cetera. This sounds like a case of "A 
rose by any other name. . ." Be that as it may, Phil remembers David Corkran, his 
history teacher, calling him in at the end of his junior year and telling him that he 
didn't want him to get any grade higher than a "C" as a senior. He said that he 
was too serious and working too hard. Phil took the advice and still got into 
Harvard, but it was hard to get himself "back into the grind" again. 

Moving the Cannon 

Corkran, who joined the English faculty in 1926 and lived in Leicester Hall as a 
young bachelor, remembers Perry Smith telling the faculty, "Now some of these 
families are making a real sacrifice to keep their kids in this school, so you better do 
something real!" He recalls faculty meetings on Thursday evenings from 7:30 until 
9 p.m. Perry Smith would start the meetings with his well-used and underlined 
copy of Colonel Parker's book of philosophy and practice of education. In 
addition, three or four times a year the faculty would discuss every child in the 
division, beginning on a Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. and finishing at 6 p.m. on Thursday 
or Friday. Didn't any of the faculty protest? "No," Mr. Corkran replies. "The 
word was that this was 'the Country Day and Half the Night School'!" Perry Smith 
would say, "We've all got to work together on these kids." Often, he would draw 
on his military experience to find the appropriate metaphor to inspire his teachers. 
Smith's training in the artillery provided a favorite story of Corkran's: 

They had six horses harnessed to a cannon. The cannon was stuck and 
wouldn't move. We simply put every man in the battery on the cannon. 

And when the driver said, "Get up and go," the horses pulled, the men all 
shoved, and the cannon came. 

"That's the way he looked at some of the problems of the School," Corkran 

Lower School Curriculum 

The curriculum in the lowest grades at this time was also focused on raising the 
children's consciousness about living within a group. The 1934 Mirror described 
the kinds of projects the younger grades worked on: 

The kindergartners spend most of their time learning to live with each other 
and in getting acquainted with the school surroundings. The first graders, 
beside learning to read during the second half of the school year, find out 
how the village life is conducted. They visited some of the stores in 
Winnetka, and have made a model store in class. They raised or are raising 
things sold in stores, like honey and garden products. The Halloween play 
is given by the second grade, who widen their studies to include the 


peasant life of all nations, while the third grade returns to America and 
Indian life. A lot of the 3rd grade's reading is done about Indians; the 
children work on things which the Indians used to make; and they usually 
give several plays to the School about Indian life. 

Fourth graders study the life of the Ancient Greeks. This year they 
produced a Greek play about Ulysses in Phaeacia, which they gave to the 
School just before spring vacation. The fifth grade studies about another 
nation, the Vikings. Later they read about the Medieval Period in Europe 
and especially King Arthur and his court. The May Day play is the result 
of their work. The fifth grade continues the Middle Ages into the period of 
exploration of the Western Hemisphere and of the Indian and Pacific 
Oceans. The most important thing the fifth graders did was to make a 
study of civilization in Central and South America before the coming of the 
white men and of the Spanish conquest. 

Importance of the Teacher 

One of the assumptions of progressive education was that the child was as deeply 
imprinted by the person of the teacher as by the nature of the content. From the 
beginning of the School, the faculty represented a community of remarkable 
human beings. Sixty years later, alumni recalled their favorites. 

David Howe '33 reaches back into his memory for his list of teachers: 

. . . Their one common factor, for my list, was that they were all chosen and 
led by Perry Dunlap Smith, who of course heads the list. 

But my list starts with a doubt: I don't remember whether Mrs. Sands was 
my first or fourth grade teacher. Was she shepherds or Greeks? I think she 
was Greeks, but then who was first grade? Miss Kee was kindergarten, in 
Leicester Hall at the top of Diller Street over by a later third base. It was a 
teacher residence hall, too. Other primary grades were back in Eliot Hall, 
stucco. Miss Griffin was second grade and, to confuse memory, she was 
followed by two Miss Griffiths, the red-haired one in third and the 
Egyptologist GLG ("See Me," "Do It Over - GLG") in sixth. Miss Hale, also 
red-haired, was colonies and pioneers in fifth. Fifth, sixth, and music were 
in West Hall, clapboard, converted from one of Knollslea's ancient satellite 

Mr. Bollinger was shop and later business manager; Miss Louisa May 
(Alcott?) Greeley was bloomer-and-middy athletics; and of course Jack 
Anderson, "Doc," was permanent boys' coach until Mac McCarty takes over 
his permanence. Let us not forget Doc's valiant early efforts in sex 
education. PDS "did" the girls and Doc "did" the boys. Who remembers 
"Mr. Henry," Doc's brother and assistant, and Les Page of the whirling 
Indian clubs? 


As my list progresses with me to the upper school. I think grades seven 
through twelve were all in Dunlap Hall by then — I must include the ones I 
never "had" — the ones I missed in lower grades or never quite reached in 
upper school. "Uncle Ray" Carlson and Ron Gleason in the former 
category, and in the latter, those stalwarts who set the tone for a generation: 
Brer Riddle, Madame Stoughton, Howard E.A. Jones and Mrs. [Julia] 

Childs. I guess I had Brer Riddle because I remember so many things he 
used to say, and I had Mrs. Childs in ancient history but never in Latin. Bob 
Millett taught me what he could of Latin, and it was more struggle for him 
than for me. 

Who taught English before Mr. Corkran and Miss Gilbert? Who taught 
science before Miss Wied and Mr. Lund? Who taught math before Lewis 
Taylor did? 

You remember Miss Bacon in art, upstairs in Knollslea, Arthur Landers 
before Ramsay Duff in music. Miss Montgomery (Mrs. Corkran), and 
Margaret Radcliffe in dramatics, but do you remember Mr. Hough in Latin 
and Mrs. Brooks in French? There were other French teachers but my 
French block carries over to their names. 

Chuck Haas '31, whose memory didn't block French, recalls Madame Stoughton: 

I was one of the few who actually learned to read and speak with some 
fluency; in later life I lived and worked in France and became essentially 
bilingual. Madame Stoughton was so touched to have at least one student 
who clearly loved French that I suppose she could not bear the thought of 
my roasting in hell for all eternity with my co-religionists. One day, with a 
tender look she handed me a little green book: the Douai French translation 
of the New Testament. I still have it. 

Then there was Miss Bacon, the art teacher, who had a profound but less personal 

and intentional effect on Haas: 

... an almost casual answer to an almost accidental question. A friend of 
my mother came back from a trip to Japan with a present for me of a 
modem Japanese print by Hasui Kawase. It was not great art (by 
hindsight), but I fell in love with it, and questioned Miss Bacon about wood- 
block prints which incited a lifelong love affair with Harunobu and 
Utamaro. My friend and classmate, John Adair [who later became an 
anthropologist, an expert on the Navaho] developed an interest in prints at 
the same time. In pusuing our mutual interest, we ended up in the print 
department of the Chicago Art Institute where we met the curator's 
assistant, a young man named Hugh Edwards who limped from a crippled 
hip. His loneliness growing up handicapped in Paducah, Kentucky, had 
sensitized him not only to the plastic arts but also to literature and music. 
Eager for companionship, he richly repaid it: first, he laid the print 
department open and introduced us to contemporary art; second, his 


comments led us to the treasures of the rest of the museum; third, he talked 
to us about the other ruling passions of his life — Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, 

Gide, D.H. Lawrence and Duke Ellington. 

After months of immersion in modern art and its ancestors, John Adair and I 
decided that the whole school should be exposed to painting, sculpture and 
architecture. We got Mr. Smith to give us a now-and-then Morning 
Exercise. The Art Institute was lavishly generous with us, and we took 
turns presenting the entire history of western art — Queen Nefertiti 
through Greece and the Renaissance — down to twentieth century France 
and on to Picasso, Lurcat, Miro, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. 

Two high school boys' intellectual and aesthetic adventures found a hearing and a 
celebration in Morning Ex, the community gathering of the School. The experience 
of Haas and Adair captured the essence of what the vision of the School was all 
about: excitement in learning, reaching beyond the campus and sharing with the 
community. Haas' memories, however, are not yet complete: 

We are approaching Commencement, 1931, but before graduation, I must 
try to evoke the presence of two magnificent and unforgettable teachers: 
Joseph B. Riddle and David Corkran. 

First, Mr. Riddle (known as Brer Riddle) because we encountered him first 
in the ninth grade. He was a short muscular figure with grey-white hair, 
beetling grizzled eyebrows and craggy features. In his teens, he began his 
adult life as a steel worker, gradually educated himself and eventually took 
part in the Teddy Roosevelt "muckraking" era, acquainted with Lincoln 
Steffens and Ida Tarbell. For a time he assisted Jane Addams at Hull House, 
a settlement house on the west side of Chicago. He became a teacher, and 
eventually arrived with his wife and three children in Winnetka where he 
lived on Oak Street and worked at North Shore teaching American history 
and ninth grade civics. "Civics" was ostensibly a course on our American 
political structures — federal, state, county, and municipal — executive, 
legislative, and judicial — what the structures were, how they were 
supposed to work, and how they really operated. His teaching was vivid, 
thorough and impassioned, and he always had a hidden agenda, a will to 
convey by some magical means to the privileged children of the suburbs 
what it was like to grow up and live in Youngstown, Ohio, or Gary, 

Indiana, or Chicago's West Side, what it meant to struggle against hunger, 
poverty and disease. Mr. Riddle fought a losing battle: we visited courts 
and city halls, but you can not sightsee in the slums, and it was almost 
impossible for us to imagine circumstances to which life had given us 
no clues. 

I recall his telling the class that when winter came, the families around Hull 
House sewed long underwear onto their children until spring. If one 
digests this information, it breaks down into shattering visual, auditory and 
olfactory images. However, one girl, misunderstanding, said "Didn't it 


hurt?" and the whole class laughed. Mr. Riddle threw an eraser at her, but 
intentionally, as usual, he missed. Some of us sensed his heartbreaking 
battle, renewed each year, doomed each year to partial or total defeat — 
while he very successfully taught history and civics. One by one he 
recognized those whose minds and hearts he had reached. In my case, this 
is what happened: 

He suggested a book to read, in fact he lent it to me: "The Cloister and the 
Hearth" by Charles Reade, a novel of the life and the time of Erasmus, with 
a burning message of tolerance for dissent. Then he handed me "Hypatia" 
by Charles Kingsley, a tale of ancient Alexandria whose message was also 
tolerance — and a hint of what today would be called "women's lib." 

These events took place after I left his class and all through high school. 

Next he lent me Walter Pater's "Marius the Epicurean" where I learned 
about estheticism and art for art's sake. Years later I thought of Mr. Riddle 
when in Yeats' autobiography, "The Trembling of the Veil," he ponders the 
sad fate of his 1880's contemporaries like Lionel Johnson and John Davidson, 
poets of talent who killed themselves or drank themselves to death. Yeats 
ascribes their fate as possibly due to "Marius the Epicurean" because Pater 
"taught us to walk upon a rope tightly in serene air, and we were left to 
keep our feet upon a swaying rope in a storm." My feet, however, were 
kept on the ground when Mr. Riddle followed Pater with an antidote: "The 
Sense of Beauty" by George Santayana. . . . Was I being educated? 

Once in my teens, at a time of heat and friction in my war of liberation at 
home, Mr. Riddle said to me: "Why don't you stop bullying your mother?" 
That did not solve the problem, but it gave me a fresh point of view. 

There came a day, walking home together down Oak Street, when he 
handed me a large square flexible paperback on whose blue cover was 
printed "Ulysses — by James Joyce." I had never heard of "Ulysses," it was 
banned in the United States, this was the Paris edition from Sylvia Beach's 
Shakespeare and Company. It was a thunderbolt. No one had told me it 
was difficult, so of course it was not. From "Stately plump Buck Mulligan 
came from the stairhead . . ." to ". . . yes I said yes I will yes" — I was under 
the spell of a world conjured up by words. I still remembered how the 
paper smelled. In 1932 in Paris I bought my own blue-covered copy; I still 
have it, but now it only smells of old age. But yes I remember yes indeed. 

A mention of Joyce to Hugh Edwards took me to D.H. Lawrence, Huxley, 
Evelyn Waugh's "Vile Bodies." How can I recover and paint for you the 
intensity of those days of discovery? 

When I graduated, Mr. Riddle very privately handed me a present: 
"Civilization and Its Discontents" by S. Freud. I still have it, very worn, 
inscribed by him. He must have been in his fifties in those days, more than 
half a century past; but as long as I remain conscious, Joseph B. Riddle 
is alive. 


So we come to David Corkran, the other most intelligent, skillful, intuitive 
and inspired teacher I had at The North Shore Country Day School, one 
who influenced my life even more than Mr. Riddle. He taught equally well 
both English and fourth year American history. I so respected and admired 
him that I wanted to do better than my best for his classes. 

By request, my mother invited him for dinner, and I took pride in showing 
him my books, especially poetry. He said, "but you stop in the nineties; 
there's no one from today." I asked him to whom he referred, and he 
mumbled some names I've forgotten, but I was mortified. Mortification led 
me to E. A. Robinson (cover-to-cover). Frost (less enthusiasm), Lindsay, 
Masters, Williams, Stevens and finally, in an anthology of recent "Prize 
Poems," I came upon "The Waste Land." As with "Ulysses," there was a 
lightening flash of recognition. A few years later, when I took a course in 
contemporary literature with T.S. Eliot, I was ready. I had read everything, 
verse or prose, he had written to that time. Without Mr. Corkran's 
comment, I might still have been pondering "The Hound of Heaven." 

Here are a couple of other Corkran comments I remember, not because they 
were inherently important, but because they brought a high-flying student 
down to earth, to a sense of proportion. In some paper when we were 
reading Paradise Lost, I wrote a comparison with "John Brown's Body," 
saying by the way that Benet's use of varied rhythms and lengths of line 
matched his subject matter and avoided monotony. Mr. Corkran wrote in 
the margin, "Do you really think this compares with the tramp, tramp, 
tramp of Milton's mighty Infantry?" 

A certain Felix Borowski wrote the program notes for the Chicago 
Symphony in a flowery, adjectival prose more baroque than Bach and more 
chromatic than Wagner. I turned in to Mr. Corkran an assignment packed 
with fine writing. In the margin he wrote, "This sounds like Felix Borowski 
or Fashions of the Hour." My style became more chaste. 

One day that changed my life, Mr. Corkran asked me in to see him 
privately. I remember it was a second-floor classroom at the southeast 
comer of Dunlap Hall. He told me to have a seat because he wanted to talk 
with me for a while. He said I was bright and I was getting older, and the 
combination could as easily turn out a handicap as a help unless I grew in 
understanding while I grew in size. "As you mature," he said, "you'll begin 
to be aware that you're more intelligent than many of your elders, including 
your teachers." "For example," he said, "you're probably brighter than Mr. 
Riddle." "But," he added, "circumstances being as they are, the longest day 
you ever live, you are unlikely to achieve his depth and richness of 
character; he has been places you will never go, and learned things you will 
never know. So don't look down on him if you find you can think faster 
than he can. Look up, he has more to think about." "Keep in mind," he 
said, "that brains are a small part of the human being. Each one of your 
classmates can do something better than you can. Forget about how 


quickly their minds work, look for where they excel, and value them for 
that. Arrogance will impoverish you, humility will enrich you." 

"Human beings come in endless variety. Some have genius for playing the 
violin, some have talent for cooking, some can tell what ails a motor by 
listening to it, some have a quality of sympathy which gives them friends 
wherever they go. None of those characteristics has any necessary 
connection with intelligence, although intelligence may greatly enhance 
them. So assess your qualities at their real value, no more, no less, and 
assess the character of others not for where it is inferior, but for where it can 
embellish your life." 

In truth, I do not remember or quote him word for word; but that was the 
gist of it. We talked for a while and I thought long and hard about his 
advice. I often think of it. Without it, I would have become someone else, 
someone quite different. 

Teacher Training 

Where do teachers like this come from? Perry Smith had the ability and insight to 
attract them. But it is one thing to staff a school with fine talent and another to 
develop and nurture that talent. Smith did several things to train his teachers. 

First were his famed weekly sessions with the new recruits. Second was the 
autonomy which he gave his staff because he respected their expertise. They took 
this freedom seriously and responded with creative curricula. Third was the 
innovative masters-in-teaching program which he developed with Carleton 
Washbume of the Winnetka School System and Flora Cooke of the Francis W. 
Parker School in Chicago. 

The word is that when teachers were new at the School they would meet weekly 
with Perry Smith during the first year to discuss educational philosophy and 
specific questions or problems that might come up. Myth has it that the neophytes 
would sit at the feet of the "master." When one former faculty member was asked 
about this, he laughed and said, "Well, that might have happened — but only 
because there weren't enough chairs." 

The development of curricula was a recognition of the expertise of the teaching 
staff and at the same time a way of nurturing that talent. Perry Smith described in 
the May 1942 Alumni Bulletin the method he worked out with his teachers in 
developing their curricula for the year: 

Each year the teachers start out to study their new groups of pupils to 
determine as far as possible the needs and characteristics of that particular 
group. Only after that has been done is the course of study made out in 
detail for the year; and even then it does not necessarily have to be adhered 
to if some subsequent observation should convince us that something better 
could be done. The teachers themselves make out this curriculum and hand 


it in to me. After I study these plans, they are discussed with the teachers 
and in faculty meetings, and then bound in a book and kept for reference 
for all the faculty. 

This method of building the course of study "from the ground up" is 
decidedly rare. Many teachers who join our staff are astonished at it, for 
they have been used to having the curriculum "handed down from on 
high," ready made as it were, and are not used to thinking through such 
problems for themselves. It does, of course, take a teacher of considerable 
ability and judgment to do this; a weak teacher or an indolent one will not 
be able to measure up to such responsibility, but we do not want to risk 
children with weak or mediocre teachers anyway, and the system has a 
strange way of bringing its own reward because of the way it develops and 
increases tine stature of those who use it. (The Commission set up by a 
Carnegie Foundation grant to study the best method of training teachers 
while in service was greatly impressed by what we have done in this 
direction. We are the only private school included in this nationwide 

How to train potential educators for teaching in the progressive schools became a 
critical issue in the early 1930s. Smith's friend and colleague, Carleton Washbume, 
superintendent of the Winnetka Public School System, had by now become 
nationally known for his educational experiments. The men talked frequently 
about the need for adequate teacher training for the kind of schools both of them 
were running. Perry Smith had an additional reason for seeing the necessity of a 
good training ground. 

Sometime around 1930 The North Shore Country Day School withdrew from the 
North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, the accrediting agency in the 
Midwest, over a dispute regarding a faculty member. Smith recalled the episode in 
a May 1949 Notes: 

. . . While this Association has worked long to raise the level of training 
among teachers, its worthy purposes have been offset by resort to 
bureaucratic regulation of the amount and type of education which all 
teachers must have. The central figure in the dispute was a young scholar 
of such unusually promising ability that not only was he pronounced to be 
one of the best young teachers he had ever seen by the official inspector, 
but also he was snatched away from us during the controversy by the 
University of Wisconsin. 

On the one hand, he was a fine teacher, thoroughly prepared in the field of 
Latin, and held degrees and highest scholarly honors from a university of 
top rank in the Association itself. On the other hand, his academic 
background did not include sufficient courses in pedagogy to satisfy the 
technical requirements of the Association. Strict adherence to the 
regulations in question would have interfered with maintenance of the 
highest standards of the School. Our request for a waiver of these 


requirements was refused. Therefore, we withdrew from the North Central 
Association as a protest against such a stifling kind of bureaucracy. 

Our withdrawal precipitated that of several other schools, notably the 
Francis W. Parker School and Lake Forest Academy. Once outside of the 
Association, it is our responsibility to remain academically strong and to 
show that we benefit from the freedom from regulation. Without the 
supporting arm of the North Central Association, the School has gone on to 
choose faculty members of unusual ability and to maintain academic 
standards beyond suspicion in the eyes of the public. Toward this end, we 
were one of tire co-operating schools which set up the Graduate Teachers 
College of Winnetka. This is a small group of young men and women, 
carefully chosen from good colleges, whose training consists of a year of 
scholarship backed by discussion with men in the field of teaching and by 
apprenticeship in a classroom. Interestingly enough, their work was so 
spectacular as to draw the attention of educators in other parts of the 
country, and finally to result in the Teachers College being granted the 
right to award the degree of Master in Education, a degree which has, in 
turn, been accepted by the North Central Association. Thus, not only has 
the stifling effect of bureaucratic regulation been avoided, but also the 
bureau has come to honor the methods of teacher education which were 
first established in protest. 

The "Golden Mean" 

Perry Dunlap Smith could well be proud of his achievements. He and his School 
seemed to have discovered "the golden mean" among three possible options before 
him at the time: the sterile and rigid educational methods of the traditional 
preparatory schools; the anti-intellectual, non-challenging curricula of the public 
schools of the time and the "anything goes," undisciplined atmosphere of the 
radical progressive schools. He felt that he was not only preparing his students for 
college but, more importantly, for life. 

As a director of the Institute of Psychoanalysis in Chicago, he was keenly 
concerned with the development of the whole child, the value of contact and 
interaction among various age levels of children, the development of school spirit 
kept within healthy bounds, the provision of opportunities for decision-making 
for all students and the expansion of avenues for emotional expression through 
the arts. 

In fact, it should be said that Perry Smith regarded the "college preparatory" aspect 
of the School as its least requirement. Twelve or thirteen years of a life cannot be 
merely preparatory. He aspired for the School to be a learning community, an 
environment in which life could be lived creatively, in which young people could 
grow into their highest potential for the age through which they were passing. 

This in itself would prepare them for new experiences and challenges to be 
enjoyed, surmounted and surpassed. 


The Graduate Teachers College of Winnetka 

The formation of The Graduate Teachers College of Winnetka, or "GTC" as it 
became known, was a significant example of the bringing together of three 
components essential for some kind of cultural breakthrough: a crisis — such as the 
one Smith described; a need — namely for teachers trained in the progressive 
philosophy; and creative problem solvers — as were the individuals who founded 
the institution: Perry Dunlap Smith, Carleton Washbume and Flora Cooke. 

Part of the story of the founding of the College is based on an interview between 
Carleton Washbume and John Leighton Tewksbury recorded in "An Historical 
Study of the Winnetka Public Schools from 1919 to 1946" [a doctoral dissertation 
for the School of Education of Northwestern University, 1962]. The details were 
corroborated later in an article written by Perry Smith. 

In 1930, Washbume related to Tewksbury, a meeting was sponsored by the 
Rosenwald Fund for the purpose of exploring ways of training teachers in the 
theory and practice of progressive education. Washbume was on the same train 
returning from the meeting as Perry Dunlap Smith of NSCDS and Flora Cooke of 
the Francis W. Parker School. They talked late into the night about the need for 
adequate teacher training for staffing their respective schools. The idea was raised 

of "the possibility of starting a small teacher training program as a joint effort " 

Three other progressive schools — The Shady Hill School and Beaver Country Day 
School, both in Boston, and the Bank Street Cooperative School for Teachers in 
New York — were also experimenting at that time with intern teacher training 

Carleton Washbume wrote about this cooperative venture in his own book, co- 
authored with Sidney P. Marland Jr., Winnetka: The History and Significance of an 
Educational Experiment: 

. . . Fortunately, Perry Smith and I had common ideals, and there was 
always warm friendship and cooperation between us. [They had first met 
as children and students at the Parker School. So it was fitting that Flora 
Cooke, principal of Parker, join the enterprise.] 

In establishing the Graduate Teachers College of Winnetka it was natural, 
therefore, to turn to Flora Cooke and Perry Smith for cooperation. They 
would strengthen the training of our students, would give variety of 
experience, and, very important, they would provide training for senior 
high school teachers. 

So the three of us became "Educational Directors" of the Graduate Teachers 
College and induced members of our respective boards to become the legal 
corporation to establish and maintain the college. 

The most important member of the staff was to be a full-time dean, since 
none of us Educational Directors could give the time and attention that the 
students would need. We fortunately found the ideal person for this key 


position in Mrs. Frances Murray, an outstanding teacher in the Junior High 
School in Winnetka. She had the energy, vigor and enthusiasm we wanted. 

She had great understanding of young people. She was a first-rate 
organizer. From its foundation (1932) to its end nearly a quarter of a 
century later (1954), Frances Murray was the dean — and the heart — of the 
Graduate Teachers College. 

In addition to the educational directors and the dean, there were staff members, 
drawn from the faculties of the three participating school systems, plus a 
psychiatrist and psychologist in Winnetka who gave the courses in psychology and 
mental hygiene. Only the dean drew a salary, and that was very modest indeed. 
The faculty members donated their services as supervising teachers and/or 
seminar leaders. 

According to a GTC catalog, there were four parts to the training course: 

First, there is teaching under supervision in the cooperating schools. 

Normally a student spends half of each day observing and teaching; and he 
usually divides his total time of training about equally between two of the 
three cooperating schools. If, however, another plan seems more likely to 
meet his individual needs, this arrangement may be modified. 

The advantage of the cooperative relationship of the schools was that the interns 
had the experience of teaching in both a public and private school as well as at two 
or three age levels. 

Second, there are seminar conferences. Each meets in the late afternoon or 
evening, once a week, under the direction of specialists on the faculties of 
the cooperating schools. Round table discussions based directly upon the 
plans for and work with children are supplemented by wide outside 
reading. A student usually takes from three to five of the seminar 
conference courses each semester. These include courses in philosophy, 
child development, general study of elementary and high school, and a 
special field such as nursery school, social studies, et cetera. 

No special college campus or buildings were needed because the course work 
could be done at the cooperating schools, in empty classrooms, in offices or 
sometimes even in the dean's home. 

Third, there is directed reading, planned to meet each student's individual 
needs and interests and replacing the lecture system common in colleges. 

The College has at Skokie School, Winnetka, an adequate working library. 

In addition, arrangements have been made with Northwestern University 
and National College of Education for the full use of their libraries. 

The students were encouraged to take on projects that satisfied their special needs 
or interests. No textbooks were used, rather the students were stimulated to read 
from a wide variety of sources. 


Fourth, specialized field work is provided in connection with the seminar 
conferences and directed readings. This entails supervised study and work 
with children. Each student concentrates on a single phase of his 
professional preparation in which he desires to specialize. . . . His choice of 
the type of teaching for which he wishes to prepare determines his field 

As Tewksbury commented in his study of the Winnetka School System, the GTC 
program was attempting "to put into practice at the graduate level the principles of 
'progressive education." "The program was tailored to fit each individual 
student." . . . "[TJhere were no term papers, examinations or grades." The 
emphasis was on tire teaching internship. 

Jack Ellison (faculty member at Parker and later, principal) was a member of the 
first class of the Graduate Teachers College in 1932-33. He came to Winnetka from 
his home in Canada at the suggestion of a friend who knew Carleton Washburne 
and "this experiment he was starting." Ellison stayed at a private home in the 
village while he was a student at the college that year. According to the college 
catalog, "students are usually housed in private homes." At the end of the 1940s 
(the time period of this catalog) the typical cost of a single room and two meals a 
day was about $15 to $20 a week. Transportation costs from Winnetka to Parker in 
Chicago were estimated at perhaps $20 to $30 a year. 

Tuition at GTC during the 1930s was $250 a year, by the end of the 1940s, $350. 
Financial assistance was available in the form of loans or teaching fellowships. The 
teaching fellow, because of the extra work, would spend two years rather than one 
year going through the program. In an interview with the dean of the college, 
Tewksbury was told that "because of the extent of donated services on the part of 
the instructors and because of the number of students who received financial 
assistance . . . the College was, for all intents and purposes, a philanthropy." 

There was no question, however, of the superior preparation for teaching which 
the graduates of the College received. Within a few years of its establishment, the 
College was attracting international recognition. Tewksbury indicated that "by 
1936 there had been students from Austria, Germany, China, India and Canada." 
The diversity of the student body was its greatest strength because "they had much 
to share with and leam from one another." The student body was never large; it 
ranged from a low of two in one year to a high of twenty. The average number 
was about twelve. Washburne pointed out that "the Vienna psychologist, Alfred 
Adler, and the Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, were among those who sent us 

The college was never a mainstream educational institution, and, as such, always 
had problems with accreditation. Because it was not recognized by the North 
Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and the American 
Association of Teachers Colleges, GTC and several other teacher training programs 
organized their own association: The National Association for Intern Teacher 
Education. The college catalog of 1947-48 tells prospective students that: 


... a Master's Degree in Education is awarded to those students who 
qualify for it by the excellence of their work and their understanding of 

Tewksbury pointed out that until 1940, no degree was awarded. But in 1940 the 
directors decided to grant the Degree of Master of Education both because the 
degree was becoming a criterion for additional pay for teachers and because some 
universities were now offering work dealing with aspects of progressive education 
and even giving academic credit for internship experience. 

The catalog continues: 

The College is fully accredited by the National Association for Intern 
Teacher Education. Its work is accredited by the State of Illinois. Both 
Harvard University and the University of Chicago give recognition to the 
work done as satisfying in part their requirements for a higher degree in 

The College was approved for the education of Veterans under the G.I. Bill 
(Public Law 346). 

The catalog warned, however, that the internships could be exploitive, that is, "a 
means of enabling a school to employ inexperienced teachers at a salary below its 
accepted scale — " High standards and protection of teaching interns were 
important purposes in the organization of the The National Association for Intern 
Teacher Education. 

The Graduate Teachers College was an ingenious idea to solve a critical problem. 
Why, then, did it cease after twenty-two years? Washbume in his book reflected 
on tine reasons: 

Time and circumstances . . . brought an end to the Graduate Teachers 
College of Winnetka in 1954. Flora Cooke retired in the earlier years of the 
College (1934), her immediate successor (Herbert Smith) in 1936. I left 
Winnetka to become Director of Education for the Allied Military 
Government and Allied Commission in Italy in 1943, and was followed by 
five successive superintendents. Perry Smith retired in 1954. Those who 
had conceived the Graduate Teachers College were therefore no longer 
available to attract students and guide its destiny. 

At the same time the education of teachers throughout the United States 
was greatly improving. Students were receiving a much broader liberal 
foundation and courses in education were improving markedly. Much of 
what distinguished the Graduate Teachers College of Winnetka could by 
now be found in large, well-known institutions. The need for the Graduate 
Teachers College had diminished. 


So, after twenty-two years of distinguished service, the Graduate Teachers 
College of Winnetka ceased to be, but the teaching staffs of the three 
founding systems continued to be enriched by its graduates into the early 

Building a New Lower School 

In addition to the Eight-Year Study and the founding of the Graduate Teachers 
College of Winnetka, a third grand experiment during the decade of the 1930s was 
the creation of a new lower school. Not just any building would do. Progressive 
educators realized that the kind of environment in which children are taught has a 
great impact on what and how they learn. In addition, an extraordinary new 
elementary school building was being planned by the Winnetka public system. 
Certainly, NSCDS did not want to be left behind. 

The day of the formal opening of the new lower school, March 6, 1938, The Purple 
and White devoted its issue to articles about the planning and building of the new 
school as well as to articles about the campus in general. The new building was 
named in honor of Willoughby G. Walling, whose leadership as president of the 
Board of Directors at the time of his death influenced its planning and construction. 
The evolution of the plans for the building were described in the student paper: 

In 1935 the School's Board of Directors first felt a very pressing need for 
additional lower school equipment. It is realized that the old plant was 
entirely inadequate, and that if the lower school was to continue, it must 
have new housing. Therefore, it began its long pursuit after a satisfactory 
scheme for a new building. In June 1935, Mr. Edwin H. Clark, the school 
architect, began drawing plans for the board's consideration. Literally 
hundreds of blueprints and drawings were prepared and discarded before 
the Board decided to start work on the present building. 

The first possibility discussed by the Board provided for the construction of 
a frame house for the kindergarten and first grade alone. This plan was 
soon discarded, however, for everyone felt that it would bring but 
temporary relief. Next, blueprints were prepared for a new kindergarten 
room to be added to the east side of Leicester. This plan too, the Board felt 
was inadequate. 

The authorities then realized that the School would have to embark on some 
large sized construction work. So the next plan considered provided for a 
new building to house the kindergarten and first three grades at a cost not 
to exceed $50,000. The faculty unanimously felt that this building would 
not solve their problems. It would not give a fair return for the School's 
money, so it, too, was discarded. 

This left the Board with the possibilities of constructing a building for 
either the lower school or high school. First it considered the suggestion 


that a new building be put up for the high school, and that the lower school 
be moved to Dunlap. This new high school building was to be placed on 
the site of West Hall. The advantage of that plan was that it placed the 
lower school near the nice green hill east of Dunlap where they could play. 
The project would have required $250,000, and everyone felt that it was too 

The authorities were then much intrigued by plans for a new building on 
the hill by Dunlap. A building sloping up the hill there [where the McCarty 
Gym is now], offering unlimited possibilities for sunlight, seemed the 
epitome of the school desires. The Board was almost sold on this idea when 
it suddenly appreciated the bad traffic problem it would create. New drives 
and parking places would have been necessary, for the drive by Knollslea 
would never have taken care of the lower school as well as the high school. 
Also the entire campus would have been thrown off balance. The class 
rooms would have been all on one side of the school far away from the gym 
and auditorium, creating quite a problem in getting the little children back 
and forth. 

At last the Board adopted the only remaining possibility — the construction 
of a new lower school on the site of old West Hall. Nothing final was done 
until Mr. Smith returned from his sabbatical leave, in the summer of 1936. 
During that winter, the final plans were completed, a permit from the 
village was obtained and the campaign for money begun. In June a contract 
was let to the Henke Construction Company, the lowest of sixteen bidders. 
The tearing down of old West Hall followed promptly and the new 
building was on its way. 

Old West Hall — the building that once housed the girls' upper school and 
administrative offices — and before that, according to Perry Smith, "rumor has it 
that the building had once been the stables for the Garland estate. . ." In the 
Alumni Column of the March 6, 1938, Purple and White, there was a nostalgic 
lament for old West Hall: 

Remember West? Did you ask me if I remembered it? Its every plank, 
every squeak, every wooden step is part of my far-off youth. I am thinking 
now of the grey March morning I took off my roller skates on the east steps. 
The grass was covered with snow, but the sidewalks were bare, and the 
first breath of spring was whispering in the bushes and around comers. 
Suddenly there was a scuffle at the door and down the steps clattered Kay 
Bulkeley and a victim. Kay rushed her to a snow pile, scooped up a frozen 
handful and rubbed it over the struggling girl's face. The girl had come to 
school with rouge on her cheeks, a scandalous thing to do, and Kay for the 
honor of the institution took justice into her own hands. 

That was when the girls studied in West and the boys had Knollslea all to 
themselves except for the lunch room. A little later what is now the 
reception room grew too small for a study hall, and they came to the second 


floor of West and studied with the girls. That was also when the domestic 
science room was in the basement of West, and the science laboratory of Mr. 
Price's was in the northwest comer of the first floor. You say you remember 
the day Louise Badgerow and you took a cake out of the oven during 
domestic science to see whether or not it was done and upset it in the dish 

You know Chevy Millard Do you remember the time he was overheard 

asking Mrs. Childs, with a very serious face, if he might peregrinate to 
Knollslea to get some books? That was in 1922 when he was in eighth 
grade. Do you remember how each spring Miss Margaret Cornell would 
get out and plant the perennial garden from the very northwest comer of 
the campus all along the fence to Elder Lane? 

You say you remember Conditional? If you were in the dog house you had 
to come back Saturday morning to study, and the teacher in whose class 
you were failing had to come back with you. The students object now to 
staying after school a while, but how do you think they would like to give 
up their Saturday mornings? 

When town meeting was held in West, when musical Morning Ex was there 
instead of in the girls' gym, when, ah, when . . . and you say that it is no 

Where is the little girl who grew up to write this lovely wisp of memory? Where is 
the parade of youngsters who passed through old West Hall and traipsed over to 
the old, old gym ... to Knollslea . . . out into the world? Gone are the children . . . 
and gone the buildings. 

But new children were coming . . . and a new building was needed. It was no easy 
matter getting that new building built! David Corkran, who had created the 
special history and literature course during the 1930s, also helped to create the new 
lower school building. While Perry Dunlap Smith was on sabbatical during the 
1935-36 school year, David Corkran stepped in as acting headmaster. He 

The most challenging job I had was in getting the new lower school built — 
Walling Hall. Perry turned that task over to me. I held meeting after 
meeting with the lower school faculty to determine what a model lower 
school should contain, and conference after conference with Eddie Clark, 
the architect, and with T.K. Boyd, trustee chairman of the building 
committee. Clark wanted to put up a building to match Dunlap Hall. 

Perry finally junked that idea and stated that we must have a modern style 
building to compete with Saarinen's Crow Island School. So it was back to 
the drawing boards. 

I then hit upon the idea that the new building should be built with reference 
to the maximum of winter sunlight available on the site chosen — in front 


of old Eliot Hall, the old middle school building, and next to the auditorium. 
To achieve this required much measuring of winter shadows caused by 
Eliot and the auditorium. The result, as you can see, was a stepped back 
new building — it jogged back and back to get more sunlight. Thus was 
achieved, unwittingly, the first solar heated school building in the country. 
Those grade rooms were so hot and sunny in the winter that the teachers 
had to turn off the heat, open windows and draw shades. As for the 
appearance of the front, that was dominated by Eddie Clark's experience in 
designing the Brookfield Zoo — the small mammal house and all that. The 
design of the back is mine. T.K. Boyd was a most conscientious building 
chairman. He visited the building site every day during construction, 
going over the plans for each day's work with the building foreman and 
checking the next day to see if what had been planned had been done. He 
is said even to have crawled through all the heating ducts to see that they 
were properly soldered, etc. I sometimes felt that the building should have 
been named after him, or at least a plaque placed in it commemorating his 
conscientious service in its construction. 

The interior of the building was as modem as the technology of the time would 
allow. Another article in The Purple and White described its outstanding new 

... It is the personification of modem functional architecture with efficiency 
the keynote throughout. 

The utmost care has been taken in making the building as near sound proof 
as possible. The walls of the music and shop rooms have been so 
acoustically treated that much of the noise is dispensed with. The floor of 
the shop room is a wonder in itself, being made of 2 x 4 blocks set on end. 
This construction will absorb a great deal of the sound as well as being 
unusually durable. 

The new building is as comfortable a structure as it is an efficient one. It is 
heated from the central heating system, as are most of the other school 
buildings, but is unique in that each room is thermostatically controlled. 

This means that it can be as cold as the arctic wastes in one room and as 
warm as tropical Pago-Pago in another. There is also an air conditioning 
unit to freshen the atmosphere in the building. 

The building is so laid out that each room will receive a maximum of 
sunlight. The wide expanse of windows permit the rooms to be flooded 
with sun. In order to be able to darken the rooms during rest hours, all of 
the windows have Venetian blinds. For stormy days there are handsome 
modem lighting fixtures. 

Every grade room has its own coat room, and there is new furniture 
throughout the building. Each department has been equipped with some 
new attractive feature. The art room has a baking kiln which will enable 


the students to preserve their clay work. The science rooms have walls of 
glass brick facing the corridors. The upper parts of the hall walls are 
covered with celotex on which bulletins and objects of general interest may 
be placed. 

Nothing was overlooked in making the building safe and comfortable. 
Every stairway has two banisters, one of which even the smallest can cling 
to with comfort. 

Years later new replacement furniture was needed for the lower school. Lorenz 

Aggens (business manager 1955-66) tells of agonizing over its selection: 

. . . Perry Dunlap Smith [this is after his retirement as headmaster] comes 
rushing into my office and says, "What are you doing? Those desks are 
carefully designed!" We were looking at Brunswick furniture [in a catalog], 
with the lid that lifts up, and there is a metal box with everything in the 
desk in one big pile under the lid. Perry continues, "It has to have four 
drawers! Don't you understand that?" And he gives me this lecture about 
school furniture. It turns out that this [original] furniture had been 
designed by Perry and constructed at Stateville Prison to his specifications 
— to provide a home for the kids — a home at school for the kids. It was a 
sacred place. No teacher was allowed to look in those drawers. You 
smelled something coming from the desk — you dealt with the kid, not the 

The Middle School 

During the first decade of the School there was not a separate middle school. The 
first six grades plus kindergarten were considered the lower school and grades 
seven through twelve, the upper school. As enrollment grew, classroom space 
became a problem. The solution at the beginning of the 1930s was to remodel 
Leicester Hall, where some of the faculty had been living, into a middle school for 
the seventh and eighth grades. 

Nancy Wolcott Ebsen '36 remembers: 

In 1931-32 the seventh and eighth grades moved back to Leicester. Who 
was the gorgeous red-headed male teacher who always wore tweeds? Did 
he take Mr. Corkran's place during a sabbatical? . . . What about those one- 
shot teachers who made a big impression: Polly Ruffner who taught us 
Chinese history in seventh grade, Mrs. Cemy who took over part of Miss 
Gilbert's class and exposed us to The Return of the Native ? Mr. Cemy was in 

the Art Department Mr. Riddle said things like, "Oh, there's the bell for 

lovely Nell for she has gone to . . . lunch." . . . [And there was] Mme. Hosier 
who used to commiserate with us: "Nous sommes victimes de la guerre." 
... I remember [in Mr. Taylor's math course] wiping dust off the tables in 


his classroom during the Dust Bowl storms before we settled down to trade 
in our village of businesses. 

The 1934 Mirror pointed out a problem that developed: 

During the past few years, or since the middle school became a separate 
part of the School in a building of its own and with its own student 
government, the three schools have been splitting apart. By this we mean 
that the same spirit of cooperation is not there and that the people of the 
different buildings do not see each other enough to know each other well. 

The lack of people at the athletic contests is an example. The children of the 
two lower schools do not take so great an interest in what the high school 
does in athletics or anything else, and this is felt to be a great loss to all 
three groups. 

The question is what can be done to remedy this? Many ways have been 
suggested, among them that of putting the middle school back with the 
high school, or of joining the two governments. We do not expect to be able 
to bring the old feeling of cooperation back right away, for the School is 
larger, and therefore it will be harder to get to know everybody and to take 
an interest in everything that goes on other than what one's own group 
does. However, during the year we think there has been a great 
improvement, and there is every reason to believe that this improvement 
will continue in the future and that we will once more gain the old school 
spirit, of all of us being a whole and not three distinct bodies, and of all of 
us working for the whole and not for ourselves and our group. 

School spirit, which was so essential to the whole School's concept of itself as a 
family, was sometimes difficult to maintain across divisional lines, but within the 
upper school the most potent creator of spirit was certainly the annual Gilbert and 
Sullivan opera. 

The Opera in the Thirties 

The person who supported Gilbert and Sullivan most, next to Perry Dunlap Smith, 
was Nina Babcock Bailey, but she was gone with the new decade. The new music 
director, Arthur Landers, valiantly produced The Mikado in 1930, but he didn't care 
for Gilbert and Sullivan. In 1931 he chose, instead of the opera, to direct a concert 
of classical choral music. By 1932 he was no longer on the faculty at NSCDS. He 
spent the next forty years of his life as chairman of the music department at 
Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. 

In the fall of 1931 a highly gifted music director, Ramsey Duff, came to North Shore 
from the University of Toronto. Once more Gilbert and Sullivan became a favorite 
spring ritual. Iolanthe was the 1932 production and the first to be repeated; it had 
last been presented in 1926. Also repeated (from 1925) was The Gondoliers in 1933. 
The art and shop departments worked together on the stage sets. The mothers 


spent weeks in the costume room transforming the high school population into 
"gallant gondolieri, attractive contadine and elegant royalty." An orchestra was 
hired from Chicago. Although [the musicians'] playing was flawless, they could be 
present for only one rehearsal prior to opening night. Needless to say, this was not 
an ideal situation. In 1934, with the production of The Pirates of Penzance, an 
orchestra was put together from members of a new school orchestra and several 
musicians from the area who were familiar with the School. The local orchestra, 
despite its amateur quality, contributed greatly to the opera's success. 

Princess Ida was the 1935 selection. According to the "Purp," [Purple and White] it is 
no small task making "lithesome court ladies and dashing courtiers out of buxom 
[field] hockey players and brawny football stars." On opening night "the cast got a 
scare when Princess Ida hurt herself falling into the so-called river." By the next 
night "the river" was padded by the headmaster's mattress. 

Patience was the 1936 production and The Mikado, 1937. In 1938 Iolanthe was 
performed for the third time. The stage designer that year was Roger D. Fisher '39, 
who will become internationally known thirty years later as an expert in 
negotiation skills. His description of setting the stage for a NSCDS opera appeared 
in the March 8, 1938 Purple and White: 

Last week's "Purp" had a few mistakes about the opera, (but what can you 
expect from Sophomores?). Contrary to their statement, there is to be no 
Buckingham Palace on the stage or within 3,000 miles of it. We are, 
however, going to have as exact a copy of Westminster as we (editorial) can 
design and as authentic as we (plural) can produce. We have only been 
working on the scenery recently and do not have two months to build it; we 
have less than two weeks. Our backdrop, we hope, is to be completely 
repainted with a beautiful meadow and a bubbling brook. 

Last Saturday we went to the Des Plaines River to get some rustic boughs 
for making an 18th century bridge out of an ordinary stage platform. We, 
the expert, in showing the rest how to cut these boughs, fell out of the tree 
and onto the ax. Resourceful Tommy didn't bring any rope, so we tied 
them on to the car with our shoelaces and drove home. 

Now for a description of what you will see on the night of the 18th [of 
March]. The curtain opens with Warren throwing his weight onto the ropes. 

A host of dainty (?), little (?) fairies soon dribble and meander like a 
wavering rainbow across an archaic landscape. Near the back on the left is 
a very architectural looking hill. Across the back right-hand comer trickles 
a burbling, gurgling, tinkling riverlet. (Anyone applying for the job of 
burbling, see the stage-manager). Over this runs our rustic span emptying 
the peers and all who pass over it onto the middle of the stage. There will 
also be a rather soft and pliable looking tree behind the hill. 

The second act is very architectural. On the right side are two towers to 
Westminster. There are steps all the way across the back beginning about 


eight feet from the back wall. On the top of the steps and a couple of feet 
back is a row of arches; behind the arches is a passage, permitting entrances 
from both right and left. The sentry box will be forward on the left side. 

The stage crew is making almost all of the scenery which we (editorial) 
mostly designed. 

This experience was only one of many, suggesting the kind of learning going on 
outside the classroom. 

Every year the School anticipated the dance after the opera. It followed the 
Saturday evening performance and went until 1 or 1:30 a.m. Upper school 
students as well as faculty, parents and members of the audience were invited. 

The Gondoliers brought the decade of the thirties to a close. An epidemic of the flu 
that spring caused the performance to be postponed until two and a half weeks 
after spring break, greatly to the relief of the cast and crew who desperately needed 
the extra time. 

The days, the weeks, the months turned into years, and the decade was marked off 
by its seasonal rituals. Young people came to be educated and then passed on 
from the School while the world outside the campus was facing a national crisis. 

The Depression Years 

There was very little sign on campus that there was a Depression going in the 
outside world, according to faculty member David Corkran. There was no drop in 
faculty salaries. Money was successfully raised to build the lower school. The 
upper school had full enrollment. The only clue that there might be an economic 
problem was that enrollment fell off for the lower school. In fact, this was a major 
reason for taking on the building project of the new lower school. In 1940 the 
enrollment was up again for the lower school, but more boys than girls were 
needed to balance the classes. 

A basic problem existed for lower school through the twenties and thirties: the 
upper school was looking toward college while the lower school faced the 
competition of the Winnetka Public Schools which under Carleton Washburne 
were progressive and admirable. Consequently, especially in the Depression, some 
families may have preferred to save a few hundred dollars a year and enter what 
they perceived as the college track at NSCDS in the seventh or ninth grade. Oddly 
enough, other North Shore families sent their children through NSCDS only to 
transfer them to eastern boarding schools for the final two years of high school. 

By 1937-38 the tuition had risen the following amounts from the 1920 figures: 
kindergarten from $125 to $175, first grade from $200 to $320, fourth grade from 
$300 to $410, seventh grade from $325 to $525, and upper school from $350 to $550. 
By 1940 the first grade tuition will be cut back to $250 and the second from $345 to 


$325. The rest of the elementary grades remained the same, but the junior and 
senior high schools increased by $25. 

At this point, the late thirties, perhaps the students were too sheltered from life 
beyond the campus. The School provided a safe, comfortable womb isolated from 
the rest of the world. Perry Smith, however, probably at the urging of his own 
conscience, took his family and went to pre-war Europe to see for himself what 
was going on. 

Global Affairs 

During the school year of 1935-36, the Smith family spent a sabbatical year in 
southern Germany where the four children went to German schools. This was 
during Ham Smith's (the eldest son) junior year. Ham remembers belonging to the 
German Youth Movement which was simply a required aspect of his schooling. 

He learned skiing as part of the boys' military training. He also learned to toss 
hand grenades — with great accuracy. 

Now he shudders when he thinks about it. He recalls living in Germany that year, 
his parents concerned and upset about what they found going on there. However, 
his father had always believed in an international education and a knowledge of 
global events. Ham and his siblings were certainly getting it. Later in the 1940s, 
after World War II, Perry Smith actively supported the Experiment in International 
Living, recognizing the value of global experience for all youngsters. 

Bob Johnson, who started kindergarten at NSCDS in 1930, graduated in 1943 and 
then in the late 1950s and 1960s sent his own children to the School, felt that he and 
his classmates were too sheltered from the world during his student days. In an 
interview with Lorenz Aggens in January of 1983, he commented: 

Certainly during my era, ending in 1943, students were living in a paradise 
of lack of discrimination. We were beautifully integrated from a Judeo- 
Christian point of view. And when some of those students got out ". . . into 
the wide, wide world ..." in 1943, reality hit them very hard. A couple of 
good friends speak of that. Whether it would have been better if they had 
had some kind of warning of what it was really like, or not, I don't know. 

But a couple of them went through some very bitter times — not only in 
having to question themselves about certain situations, and come to some 
kind of rapport with them, but some bitterness that they had been tricked 
by The North Shore Country Day School type of "family." They hadn't 
been told how tough it was. 

A co-editor of The Purple and White [October 1938] was concerned about the need to 
raise student consciousness about world events: 

This school has a great opportunity which it is largely passing up. At this 
time events in our country and in the world are moving very fast and in 


ways which vitally affect our futures. Yet we make no concerted effort to 
leam about our country and other countries' problems. I should like to 
suggest that we inaugurate a series of talks on current events and current 
problems in our Morning Exercise time. A knowledge of current problems 
should be part of a liberal education. 

Perhaps in response to this suggestion, a series of presentations on religious 
tolerance was set up for early 1939. Representatives from three major religions — 
Dr. Samuel Harkness, Rabbi Charles Shulman, and a Jesuit priest — each presented 
a Morning Exercise on the subject of tolerance. In April that year Dr. Bayard 
Dodge, president of Near East Colleges in Beirut gave a lecture, but in the evening 
rather than at Morning Ex. 

School Affairs 

In spite of chaotic world conditions, life went on as usual within the realm of the 
School. In 1938 the May Day preparations were placed in the hands of the 
sophomore girls according to the May 10, 1938 Purple and White because the junior 
girls who had handled it complained of overwork. That year the upper school girls 
wore dirndls, and the boys "supported the peasant idea with bright colored sashes 
carefully wrapped around white shirts and pants." The classes danced peasant 
dances. Young guests came from the Northwestern Settlement, as they did the 
year before, to join in the celebration and dancing. By the 1960s the invitation to 
inner city children will become bitterly disputed. But for the time being. Lady 
Bountiful reigned supreme. 

The "Inquiring Reporter" in the same 1938 issue of the Purp asked what people 
thought of student government. Responses ranged from "it's a good thing" and 
"offers general knowledge" to "nobody pays any attention." Advice offered 
included such thoughts as "Give the girls a chance to talk in town meeting," and 
"If there were muzzles for certain people, it would be a whole lot better." 

In October of 1938 the "Inquiring Reporter" asked what people would think of 
acquiring a new school song. 

Stanley Johnson '40: "I don't think. I try not to anyhow." 

Romeo: "I'd omit that one that has 'Fight, Fight, Fight!' That indicates 
violence, you know." 

Spike: "I think it would be an excellent idea, but we want a better school 
song, because a new song doesn't always imply a better one. 

George Eldredge '41: "I think it's a dam good idea. The one we have now 


An editorial informed the students that the matter of the song had been brought up 
at the last council meeting: 

... As you know, we have been plowing through the dull, spiritless phrases 
of "Wake the Echoes." To some, a song as uninspiring as "Wake the 
Echoes" may be something with which to keep away insomnia. However 
we may look at the school now, we should in later years prefer to remember 
North Shore with happy thoughts. Besides, the land around North Shore is 
flat and there are no mountains from which the echoes may be awakened. 

Also, we're a small school, and we don't believe there are enough of us to 
wake any really powerful echoes in the first place. And another thing, we'd 
probably get farther if our thoughts and footsteps weren't always turning 
back to North Shore, much as we may love it. Days and weeks gathering to 
years isn't a peculiarity of North Shore, and, besides, their gathering is 
something that we learn in our math classes and would just as soon forget 
about in later years. 

What we want is a happy song, something gay and spirited rather than 
something mournful and nostalgic. We'd like something with pep that isn't 
just a football song, but a song that would be both fun to sing and fun to 

Recognizing the need for a new song, which was also recognized by several 
members of the faculty, including a prominent member of the Music 
Department, the council has asked for ideas. We would greatly like and 
appreciate it if some of you who have talent either in writing words or 
music would try and write something for which the School will remember 
you with gratitude. We promise that if anyone will write a song, either 
words, music or both, that is accepted, the School will dedicate the song to 
the author with all suitable ceremony. This is a challenge to anybody who 
thinks he might be able to write a school song. How about it? 

Whatever happened to the idea of a new school song? Did reverence for tradition 
rule the day? Did the students become too preoccupied with studies and their 
extracurricular activities to devote the time to it? Or did the press of world events 
supersede such parochial concerns as a school song? The classes for the next fifty 
years would continue to sing "Wake the Echoes" at their commencement exercises 
each June. 

Parent Communication: Notes 

In spring of 1938 the monthly bulletin. Notes, was established as a vehicle of 
communication between the School and the homes. Each month from then until 
Perry Dunlap Smith retired in the spring of 1954, there was an essay on the front 
page written by Smith. His ideas were not promoted in numerous articles and 
books the way those of his friend and colleague, the prolific Carleton Washbume, 
were. But over the next sixteen years these little essays built up a sizable body of 


Smith's educational philosophy and commentary on the daily life of The North 
Shore Country Day School. 

By fall 1938 the responsibility for editing and publishing tire Notes was taken on by 
the Parents' Association. Ruth Eldredge, mother of George Eldredge '41 [he will 
become third headmaster], became the editor. 

In the May 1939 Notes, Perry Smith commented on the School's growing reputation 
as a successful training ground for principals and headmasters: 

. . . This month again a representative of the Board of Directors of a well- 
known school appeared in my office asking advice in the search for a new 
Head and armed with a list of three of our best teachers whom they considered 
good possibilities for this responsible position. 

The faculty of The North Shore Country Day School has already produced 
during the last decade, six Heads of successful schools. This would seem to 
be enough lives to give to one's country. But the compliment implied is a 
great one, so we must continue to close up ranks as each one goes on to 
greater responsibilities and honors and strive to wax strong in spirit and 
ability as we in turn fill in the gaps with teachers we have trained. 

The six members of our staff who have left to assume the responsibilities of 
principalships are Mr. Howard Jones, who was Head of our science 
department, now Headmaster of the Pembroke Country Day School in 
Kansas City; Mr. Edward Lund, who was in charge of our mathematics 
department, now Headmaster of the Providence Country Day School at 
Providence, Rhode Island; Mr. Kenneth T. Price, who was Director of our 
science department, now Head of the Francis Parker School of Pasadena, 
California; Mrs. Marion Wilberforce Stoughton, who was Head of our 
modem language department, now Headmistress of the Montrose School 
for Girls, at Montrose, Pennsylvania; Mr. Nine Wilder, who was in charge 
of our middle school, is now Principal of the Ballard Memorial School of 
Louisville, Kentucky; and Mr. E. Trudean, who was Head of our science 
department, is now Headmaster of the Shady Side Academy of Pittsburgh, 

To this group will now be added Mrs. Ellen Carswell Green, who has been 
Head of the ninth grade girls' room and teacher of Latin and history for the 
past seven years at our School. She has accepted the position of Principal 
of the Sunset Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri, and will thus raise our 
record to seven members of our faculty who have been made principals of 
well-known schools. It will be hard to fill her place next fall, and we shall 
miss her sorely, but all her many friends rejoice in the new honor that has 
come to her, and to us through her, and wish her every success in her new 


The following year, 1940, another faculty member, Reginald White, left to become 
Headmaster of Peninsula School in Menlo Park, California. He was director of the 
middle school and teacher of English and social studies while at North Shore. 
Nancy Wolcott Ebsen '36 remembers the lyric that the girls bestowed on him: 

Reginald Lucius White Esquire, 

The eighth grade girls do not admire. 

(He made us get rid of our white mice which 
we kept in cages under our desks.) 

Another Decade Closes 

So closed the decade of experimentation and confirmation, a time when the School 
was gaining a national reputation. Its students were engaged in a progressive 
education with full expectation of admission into highly selective colleges. A 
teacher-training program was in place, providing talented young interns now and 
the promise of outstanding new teachers in the years to come. The lower school 
program became solidly established in a modem new building. The middle school 
was now a separate entity, and teachers had been here long enough to become 
delightful characters. 

As the 1940s began, so did the rite of soul-searching. All was not well with the 
School, and some important questions had to be asked and some decisions made. 

Jean Kastrup (Talley) (left) joined the office staff in 1939. 


The first North Shore Country Day School "bus" was a converted four-door Packard. 

Leicester Hall was home to boarding students in the 40s and 50s. 

Alumni gather around the piano with Ramsay Duff. 


THE FORTIES: Democracy and Discipline 

The North Shore Country Day School was established in 1919 
in response to a demand on the part of a group of parents 
then living in Winnetka for a more individualistic and realistic 
type of education than was then available in this vicinity. 

1940 NSCDS pamphlet 

So begins a description of the history and purposes of the School in an information 
piece from 1940. The School during this decade would come of age. In the face of 
international upheaval. North Shore's spiritual, moral and social values would 
continue to be articulated with growing emphasis by its inspired headmaster and 
carried out in its curricular and extracurricular activities. Yet, by the close of the 
decade, those values would undergo the ultimate test in a way that no one could 
have predicted when the 1940 pamphlet was written. The brochure made no 
mention of the word "progressive." Now the key concepts were "individualistic" 
and "realistic" and "family-centered." 

An idea was stressed in this information piece which became a theme for the 
decade of the 1940s — democracy and democratic ideals. The pamphlet decried 
the "growth of huge institutions and the segregation in them of pupils of similar 
age levels" because it "is dangerous to democracy in that it lessens the importance 
of the individual and the family unit." Then came the rationale for The North 
Shore Country Day School's existence and its practices: "This School has long stood 
out as an exponent of the democratic ideal and the need of cooperation among 
individuals rather than the mass competitions that are practiced with honor rolls 
and prizes in big institutions." 

Smith's ideas were deeply affected by World War II and the political conditions 
which surrounded it, especially as a result of his sabbatical trip to Germany in 
1935-36. In the 1940s he viewed families working together with the independent 
school as more important than ever in preserving spiritual, moral and social 

"Bulwark of Democracy" 

December 1941 — the United States went to war. The Smith essay in the Notes of 
that month was entitled "The Independent School: A Bulwark of Democracy." It 
was probably written before Pearl Harbor, but it spoke to everyone's concern with 
independence and democratic ideals: 

All of the great dictators have set out to destroy the spirit of democracy in 
their peoples by first weakening the influence of the home by substituting 
the state as a higher allegiance. Then they seek to bend the growing 


generation to their will by controlling the schools. When they find a school 
system in existence which is already largely acting as an extension of the 
power of the state, the task is easy. In such a situation the very existence of 
independent schools — schools [their patrons] . . . have freely chosen and 
supported, often at great personal sacrifice — constitutes a bulwark of 
democracy. No political party or body of fanatics can completely control 
the minds of the young people of a nation while such independent schools 
continue to exist. On the other hand, if such schools should be allowed to 
disappear or dissolve entirely, the first step toward totalitarianism has been 

Every American citizen is justly proud of our great system of common 
schools. They are the glory of our Republic, but only so long as they remain 
independent schools. 

There are many independent public schools, and there are plenty of private 

schools which are far from independent My thesis is that if a 

democracy is to continue to exist, its people must have the right to set up 
different types of schools whenever those provided by the state seem to be 

The test of whether or not a school is democratic is not who pays the bills; it 
is the way the children are taught to face life and its problems. Do the 
teachers of the school tell their pupils the truth as they see it? . . . Do they 
have faith in democracy and so allow their pupils to practice what they 
preach by having a share in the responsibility for running the school? Do 
the parents share equally in this responsibility and believe in these 
principles? If so, the school is not only democratic but it is a bulwark of 
democracy itself. 

Perry Dunlap Smith 

The Mirror of 1942 included a full page entitled "Our School" with a photograph of 
Smith and a statement by him which again dealt with the theme of democracy. He 
briefly described the origin of the School following World War I and then 

At the time, very few schools gave their pupils any real experience in 
democracy as such. The . . . history classes memorized the facts of battles 
... in the struggle of various peoples for democratic forms of government; 
but the students were not allowed to put these forms and theories into 
practice in their own lives. 

There were one or two exceptions . . . however. For more than fifteen years 
The Francis W. Parker School had been basing its instruction on two 
fundamental principles of democracy; first, it taught each pupil to accept a 
part of the responsibility for the welfare of the whole school, thus 
recognizing the importance of the individual; and secondly, it taught each 
individual to guide his actions by whatever was best for the greatest 


number of his schoolmates, thus inculcating a feeling of voluntary 
subordination to the best interests of the school community. 

Several North Shore families set up here in Winnetka a school founded on 
the principle which Francis Parker had formulated and which the School 
and others could help work out in practice. 

It has ever striven to build up the conviction in its members — parents, 
pupils, and teachers — that democratic principles will work in practice if 
individual responsibility and group cooperation are accepted by all. It 
therefore gives as many opportunities as possible to parents, pupils and 
teachers to practice the solution of any problem which may confront them 
by democratic rather than authoritarian means. The motive power in 
faculty meetings, parents' committees and, of course, in studies and the 
other student activities, must come from within the groups themselves, not 
from some authority above them. Leaders, not dictators, are what 
democracy must have, and this method as practiced in the School has 
shown that leaders are quickly and steadily produced. 

Today we find ourselves engaged in an even greater struggle to save the 
democratic principles for which we have worked so long. We are, 
therefore, ready to redouble our efforts and throw every ounce of our 
energy into this cause. We have experienced in our own lives the true 
meaning of the aspirations which are now drawing together the whole 
civilized world in one great brotherhood. To be a part of this effort is our 
greatest hope and privilege. 

Training for Democracy 

Learning democracy by exercising it was the major reason for student government, 
a challenge presented to the students the very first day of school in the autumn of 
1919. In 1943 the democratic process caught the attention of former faculty 
member. Will Talley [Science Department 1943-72], when he arrived from the East. 
He recalls: 

One of the things that impressed me about Perry Smith was the way he had 
the kids run their student government. One time, there was a lot of writing 
on the walls. The kids would come downstairs and hold their pencil 
against the wall, and they would scribble on the wall. This came up at 
Morning Ex one time. I was amazed at how much they talked about this. 

One youngster offered an explanation of why they did it. The chairman 
asked what they should do to control it. Some kids had answers. They 
spent many, many minutes at this. I was new at the School, and I thought 
this was ridiculous. Every school I had been in, they would have been told 
not to do it, and they would have stopped. 


But that wasn't Perry Smith's method. His was to let them talk it over and 
come to their own conclusion about what to do, and then let them go 
through with it. It certainly worked out pretty well. What they decided to 
do was this: The next day as many of them as needed to brought buckets 
and scrub brushes and they scrubbed all the walls. No more writing 
appeared for a long, long time. 

Another time they had trouble with the green house. They played football 
out there. Time after time I heard the crash of broken glass as another 
football or baseball went through a pane. Perry had the same system for 
dealing with this. They spent thirty minutes one day hacking it back and 
forth in Morning Ex. I thought, why don't they just say "No more playing 
there"? The students decided to continue playing there as they always had, 
but if they broke a window, it would be a responsibility of those who broke 
it to repair it. They would go uptown and buy the glass and repair it. I 
helped two or three of them do it. But that ended it. It was too much bother 
[for the students], and we had no playing back there for a couple of years. 

Times of Trial 

If the decade of the 1930s could be called the time of confirmation or triumph for 
the School, the decade of the 1940s was a time of trial. On March 19, 1941, Perry 
Dunlap Smith wrote a letter to the faculty: 

I must beg your indulgence for not having submitted the usual contract 
letters to each of you as yet, but, as you know, these are very uncertain times 
and it has been almost impossible to plan even six months ahead. 

I am glad, however, to be able to state to you definitely at this moment that 
in spite of the uncertainty of the size of our current deficit, and the 
impossibility of forecasting next year's enrollment, our Board of Directors 
has authorized us to continue next year on the same faculty salary budget 
as we have had this year; and as I have never known a more devoted and 
cooperative teaching staff as you have shown yourselves to be this year, I 
hope you will all be willing to return to the School next fall. We can feel 
certain at least that there will be no deduction in any salary. 

Early next month I hope to have the definite contract letters in your hands; 
in the meantime if any of you care to discuss the matter with me I shall 
welcome an opportunity to do so. 

Again, may I express my gratitude to you for standing by so loyally and 
patiently in these months which are so exceedingly critical both for the 
School and for the world. 


Committee on the Future of the School 

A committee was formed under T. Kenneth Boyd to develop strategies for moving 
the School into the future. Members of the committee were Foster Hannaford 
(who eventually earned the distinction of serving the School in one capacity or 
another for fifty years), Walter T. Fisher, Perry Dunlap Smith, David H. Corkran 
[faculty member 1926-44], and K. V. Bollinger [shop teacher and business manager 

Two major questions were explored: "whether or not there is a real need of the 
School in the community" and "whether the budget of the School could be better 
balanced by curtailment of the educational program or by expansion of the 
enrollment from the present 310 to the full quota of 350 pupils." 

In regard to the first question, there was unanimous agreement that the need did 
exist for the type of education which NSCDS could provide. The second question 
was more complex. No one thought the educational program should be curtailed, 
so the focus was on expansion of enrollment. Two suggestions were seriously 
considered: establishing a parent committee who would spread knowledge of the 
School (a delicate task that would require careful selection) and increasing the 
facilities of the School. 

A proposal for increasing School facilities was "to acquire a farm which would 
permit the development of an educational program about a simple physical 
environment." The farm idea was appealing, but the capital outlay and expense of 
operation seemed impractical at that time. 

The second proposal was "to extend the area from which we could draw pupils." 
Thus began two programs which were to have a lasting effect on the School: the 
Leicester Hall boarding program and the school bus program. 

School Buses 

Jean Talley, who began working on the administrative staff of the School in the fall 
of 1939, remembered the first "bus" because she drove it: 

We didn't have buses then. I drove a four-door Packard car we had 
converted. It had a seat down the middle of the back. I drove that Packard 
on the Highland Park runs. Then George Eldredge drove it. He thought 

that was really fun We took the jump seats out and ran a double row of 

seats down the back, so they must have had ten or twelve [student 
passengers] in there, plus the front seat. 


Leicester Hall 

Leicester Hall entered the historical record in 1911 in the Girtonian in which the 
students of the Girton School for Girls cheered the move into their new residence 
hall. During the first two decades of Country Day history, the large but modest 
house served as a dwelling for single faculty members, men on the second floor, 
women on the third, with a kindergarten on the first floor. At the beginning of the 
forties, it once again became a student residence. The boarding program was 
described by Perry Smith in the May 1941 Notes: 

For many years there has been a steadily increasing demand for some sort 
of facilities which would make it possible for parents living beyond 
commuting distance to send their children to the School. It has been 
gratifying, also, to receive from time to time inquiries from as far away as 
New England, from parents who would like to enroll their children with us 
if it were possible to furnish living accommodations under the supervision 
and control of the School. 

The only way we have been able to solve this problem in the past has been 
to find places in the homes of faculty members or parents who were willing 
to accept such a responsibility on a definitely professional basis. This has 
worked out satisfactorily for both the children and the homes concerned. In 
fact, it has proved so successful that there has been a constant succession of 
such arrangements during the last six or seven years. 

Many parents, however, have expressed a desire for living arrangements 
with even more supervision on the part of the School. To meet this demand 
the Board of Directors, after a careful study of the problem, voted last year 
to inaugurate a new department centered around a master and his wife who 
would live on the grounds in the residence [Leicester Hall]. 

Accordingly, we have carefully worked out the details of this plan. A 
group of parents was selected to assist in planning the redecorating and 
remodeling of the building and selecting the furniture and equipment. We 
are now in a position to announce the opening of the new department with 
the opening of the school year next fall. 

Mr. Nathaniel French [history teacher 1938-68, who became second 
headmaster] will be the resident master in charge. He and Mrs. French will 
make Leicester Hall their home and assume complete responsibility for the 
boys who will live there with them. The atmosphere and activities of the 
residence will be as much like a home as possible. The boys will live as a 
part of the community, entering into matters of community interest just as 
is done in other homes. They will have home duties and responsibilities, 
each working out with Mr. and Mrs. French his share in the welfare and 
happiness of the whole group. The cultural advantages of the metropolitan 
community, such as concerts, art exhibits, dramatics, etc. will be available; 
of course, there will be participation in the social life of the neighborhood as 


well, but always under control and direction. The students will receive 
help in learning how best to direct their study efforts effectively. In order to 
make possible an intimate and personal relationship, it is planned to restrict 
the size of the group to not more than six or seven students. 

There are both single and double rooms available for the boys. All meals 
will be served in the dining room as a family, except that on school days the 
boys will eat their noon meal in the regular school lunchroom with their 
classmates. Ample provision has been made for recreation and relaxation, 
so that as far as possible life in the residence will be that of a healthy, 
normal home rather than of an institution. 

The fee for membership in this group will range from $1125 to $1350 for the 
year, depending on the grade the child enters. The Debenture is included in 
this fee and will be refunded to the parent at the time of the child's 
graduation. Pupils will be accepted on either a five-day week — going to 
their own homes for the weekends — or a full-week basis, the charge being 
somewhat less for the shorter week. Mr. Bollinger will be glad to explain 
any of these points to parents who are interested. 

We believe that this new department will prove valuable to parents, pupils, 
and the School. It will extend the area served by the School; add pupils 
from a distance, which should broaden the point of view of the student 
body; and help students who need more systematic supervision than many 
homes are able to give. 

Moreover, this department will make it possible for a boy who is 
temporarily out of adjustment with his family, because of adolescent 
difficulties or similar causes, to leave his home for a year, or even less, 
while he acquires a better perspective on his family and himself, without 
having to adjust to a new school. Such temporary arrangements have 
several times worked well in the past, even under less advantageous 
conditions than this new department now offers. 

May I express here the thanks of the School for the help and hard work 
given in perfecting and working out this plan by the committees from the 
Parents' Association, the Faculty, and the Board of Directors. It never could 
have been completed without their loyal and able assistance. 

During the first year of the Leicester resident program, the enrollment sometimes 
reached as many as nine boys: four of the boys stayed all year; others came for 
varying periods. The geographical range was broad: two each from Winnetka and 
Lake Forest, and one from Glencoe. Out of state included two from California and 
one each from New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. 

An "inmate," as the residents described themselves in a 1943 Mirror, wrote about 
life at Leicester Hall: 


The policy of Leicester Hall, commonly called "The House," centers around 
the principle of preserving the institution of "family life" (as practiced by 
the Dionnes [quintuplets]). However, in our case, the numbers fluctuate 
from time to time without the benefit of birth or death. One will find, we 
might add, many of the attributes of the more lively type of family life in 

Within the walls of this time-honored edifice an informal study hall takes 
place in the evening. When not employed in study, we strive to increase 
our skill at ping-pong. We greet new members with an initiation ceremony 
in the form of a secret game called, "Brother, Brother, I've been bopped!" 

These minor social pleasures add a little zest and color to the family life. 

For out-of-doors exercise we formed a work group and found to our 
amazement that some of the family chores, such as taking down screens, 
washing windows, raking leaves, and even building a bike shed go better 
when done by a group. It was a valuable experience. 

Under the spiritual guidance of Mr. and Mrs. French and the Rev. Gordon 
Nelson we have attended the various churches along the North Shore. 

During the season we gave several square dances which shook the 
foundation of Leicester and revived die "Swing your partner" style of 
American folk dancing. We also invited a group of interested students for 
an informal discussion of "The Negro Problem" with Mr. Fred Wale, a 
representative of the Rosenwald Foundation. 

We, the inmates, heartily thank the parents for making "The House" 
possible. Your many contributions over last summer have given us a 
luxurious common room in which to gather. We deeply appreciate the 
guidance and companionship given us by Mr. and Mrs. French and by our 
jovial little man, Mr. Nelson. 

An Inmate 

During the years 1945-47, while Cleveland "Gadge" Thomas was the resident 
master living in Leicester with his wife and children, he was also doing research for 
his master's thesis at Northwestern University on "Study Habits of Senior High 
Students" at NSCDS. He later completed his doctorate at Northwestern and left 
North Shore to become principal of The Francis W. Parker School from 1956-67. 

From 1947 until 1951, David Howe '33, a colleague of Gadge Thomas in the English 
Department, was resident master at Leicester Hall with his wife and two infant 
sons. Dave Howe's family had a long and close association with the School. His 
mother Hester helped found the Parents' Association. His father was on the Board 
of Directors from 1929 until his death in 1942. From the founding of the School 
until the youngest brother Warren graduated in 1941, the Howe siblings (a total of 
five) were continuous members of the student body. David Howe left North Shore 
in 1955 to become headmaster of Charlotte Country Day School in North Carolina. 


Living with the master residents and their families, there were at times various 
single male faculty members, among them Will Talley and George Eldredge. 

When Perry Smith went to Providence, Rhode Island, to try to convince Will Talley 
to come to The North Shore Country Day School, Will asked how he could possibly 
leave the beautiful view of the ocean. Perry Smith responded by promising him a 
residence in Leicester Hall where he would have a beautiful view of Lake 
Michigan. Will arrived at Leicester only to discover that the beautiful view would 
be a reality only if all the trees were cut and the houses taken down between 
Leicester and the lake. However, Will discovered other redeeming features at the 
School that kept him here. In 1948 he and Jean Kastrup of the administrative staff 
were married. 

George Eldredge '41 returned to NSCDS in 1949 and lived at Leicester for several 
years. A graduate of Northwestern University and the Graduate Teachers College 
of Winnetka, he later became head of the lower and middle schools in 1957 and 
headmaster from 1969 until 1973. 

Impact of the War Years 

The School was profoundly affected by World War II. The Alumni Bulletin of May 

1942 described what happened after the events of Pearl Harbor: 

. . . the School began to adjust to the effort we were all eager to make to 
bring about the winning of the war. The Seniors at once canceled their 
senior play so that they might put the extra time on the job of organizing 
the School on a war footing. 

The first thing to do, of course, was to organize air-defense wardens and to 
get the air-raid drills into shape. At first, things were pretty confused at all 
Civilian Defense headquarters, particularly in Chicago; so we wrote 
straight to Washington and were able to get a fairly clear set of instructions 
as to how to proceed. Following these as closely as we could and adapting 
them to our needs, the senior boys took over the jobs of air-raid wardens 
and fire wardens. It was necessary to call on the junior boys to help them in 
order to have a trained group ready to start next year. The junior boys, in 
the meantime, had taken over the student government in the School. The 
senior girls organized themselves as auxiliary defense wardens for the air 
drills, two girls going to each of the grades in the lower school as assistants 
to the grade teachers, for it was recognized at once that panic among the 
little children would be very difficult to control unless there were more 
adults assigned to each class than were available from the teaching staff. . . . 

The air-raid drills now run smoothly, with the children going to their 
homerooms to get books and supplies in order to keep busy during the 
period of the drill and to be prepared to make good use of their time. 


In the meantime, the other grades in the School were organizing for the war 
effort also. The sale of United States Government bonds and stamps was 
conducted in the lunchroom by tenth grade boys and girls. Another group 
began a collection of waste materials, such as phonograph records, 
toothpaste tubes, books, and clothing, and saw that they were distributed to 

the proper authorities The 10th grade girls undertook the Junior Red 

Cross organization and have attended many of their meetings in Chicago 
and organized the work here. Mme. Parker [French 1935-46] instituted a 
sewing class to teach the proper method of sewing and conservation of 
clothing. Mr. ["Doc"] Anderson [physical education 1920-49] has organized 
a class in first aid, which is proceeding among the older girls with great 
interest and vigor. 

Two members of the faculty have already entered the armed services, and 
several others are very active in the Civilian Defense Program. As is 
already known to many, "Spike" [Robert F.] Millett, for fourteen years 
instructor of Latin and social studies, has been commissioned a Lieutenant, 
senior grade, in the Navy. Mr. Millett left school April 10 [1942] to enter the 
United States Naval Air Station at Quonset, Rhode Island, for a three- 
months' training course. "Spike's" classes have been taken over by Mrs. 
[Julia] Childs [1919-46] and Katharine Leslie '27 [leaves NSCDS in 1943 to 
go into war work in the West; will later marry Ned Momingstar, head of 
the lower school]. 

Ned Momingstar [1940-53, with one year leave-of-absence for army service; 
1961 assistant principal at Parker School under "Gadge" Thomas] was 
inducted into die Army last July and is stationed at Fort Wheeler in Georgia. 
Irving Telling [1941-42], Mr. Momingstar's successor as 5th grade teacher, 
has had his physical examination and has been ordered to report to the 
Army at the end of May. 

In the civilian effort, the School has been quite conspicuous. Mr. Smith is 
Director of Training for Civilian Defense in Winnetka, and runs a 
Wednesday night school at Skokie School attended by over 600 Winnetka 
citizens. The first two lectures in Mr. Smith's defense school were given by 
Ronald Gleason, director of the Middle School, and Nathaniel French, 
teacher of social studies. The third lecture in the series was given by Hobart 
Young '33, who proved to be the only person in Winnetka authorized to 
give this training. He . . . talked effectively on poison gases and was 
exceedingly well received. 

"Doc" Anderson [physical education 1920-49] has been appointed official 

instructor in first aid to the Fire Department Mr. Corkran [English 

1926-44] is coordinator of youth activities under the program of health and 
recreation. The following members of the staff are block wardens in their 
home communities: Perry Smith, David Corkran, Nathaniel French, Ben 
Carpenter [science and math 1940-43; in 1943 he will start war research for 
the government but will die that same year.]. 


The changes in the curriculum which the war brings about must of 
necessity be more carefully considered and more slowly brought into being. 

. . . The emphasis on global geography and air-mindedness in the teaching 
of all social sciences is becoming greater and greater. The emphasis in 
mathematics and science on those phases of the subject which directly 
apply to navigation and engineering, of course, is much greater. The 
military authorities have asked that in English classes more effort be made 
to teach clear and distinct expression in both speech and writing so that 
there may be no misunderstandings of orders given or received. 

The students received a sound scolding from one of the journalists — probably a 
senior boy — on the front page of The Purple and White [March 10, 1942] for their 
behavior at the first air-raid drill: 

. . . There was entirely too much talking and shouting The chief 

purpose of these air raid drills is to teach us to practice self-discipline 

We are at war, and we must leam to discipline ourselves if we are to place 
ourselves psychologically in a condition to fight file war through to a 
successful conclusion. 

In the same issue the school community was told that Mr. "Spike" Millett [Latin 
and history, 1928-42] was "on his way to serve Uncle Sam " 

If you have recently noticed the increased sartorial splendor of the high 
school boys, you can give thanks to "Spike" Millett, who has unloaded his 
polychromatic tie collection on North Shore. 

Over the next forty-five years "Spike's" ties have become woven into the North 
Shore mythology. The story is that he auctioned off those ties. 

Another legendary nugget is the story told by "Doc" Anderson to Mac McCarty 
that when Larry Brashears '41 was in naval flight training in Detroit he would fly 
over and buzz the athletic fields at NSCDS. 

The sad reality is that a number of the young graduates who left North Shore so 
full of hope for a full life were killed in World War II. A memorial window was 
created in their honor at the west end of the auditorium vestibule. 

Incidence of "War Nerves" 

In the spring of 1942 Perry Smith described his distress at what he called 
"symptoms of war nerves," in the May Notes: 

. . . The first is an apparent increase of lack of courtesy and consideration on 
the part of the pupils. This is easily understood in terms of the underlying 
tenseness, but it needs to be recognized and remedied. Part of the 
preparation for war is to increase the self-control of each individual so that 


he or she may stand firm even under the most frightening circumstances. 
Consideration for others is certainly a large part of this discipline. If one 
thinks first of others, he does not think of his own troubles and fears so 

The other symptom is closely connected to the above and is an alarming 
increase in the disregard for personal property belonging to others. This 
varies from the feeling of no obligation to return lost articles to their owners 
all the way to the theft of trinkets from the counters of stores in the Village. 
It is not, of course, confined to our pupils, for other schools are reporting 
even greater delinquencies, but there is enough of it among our numbers to 
cause concern and to indicate that parents and teachers might well do all 
they can to arouse in the children a high sense of honor and a desire to 
build a standard of integrity of which to be proud. 

The increase in juvenile delinquency due to the outbreak of war has been 

marked in our country, as it was in England Children of the ages of ten 

to fourteen seem particularly susceptible to this form of relief from the 
strain of war nerves. The School is, therefore, centering its efforts on this 
age group, and will be glad to cooperate with the parents in any way 
we can. 

The Summer Service Corps 

Perhaps it was concern with youngsters (especially boys) in this general age range 
that induced the School to start a Summer Service Corps in 1943 for boys from 
twelve to fifteen years of age. They were organized to work on local victory 
gardens and on tire Hannaford Farm near Aurora, Illinois, under the direction of 
Lewis Taylor [Math, 1925-64] and three "masters," who trained the boys as efficient 
workers. The May 1943 Notes described other activities as well: 

The School is purchasing an airplane (Piper Cub) which the boys will use 
for the study of motors and the theory of flight. They will work also on 
map making, signaling and scouting and the School shops will be available 
for indoor work on rainy days. 

Our purpose is to give an opportunity to boys in their early teens to make a 
contribution to the national effort to meet the present emergency and to 
prepare themselves to be of greater service to the country in the 
reconstruction period which will face us in the post-war period. 

The group, which we are calling the Summer Service Corps, will be 
organized as a day camp on the school grounds, opening the last week in 
June and continuing for a period of seven weeks. The hours will be from 
9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and the boys will be served lunch. The charge will be 
$100 for the full period, i.e., at the rate of approximately $15 per week. We 


are anxious to include as many boys as possible from schools other than 
our own. 

The Service Corps ran for two summers, 1943 and 1944. Attractive pamphlets were 
produced both years with black and white photos advertising the camps. A legal- 
sized mimeographed sheet regarding the trip to the Hannaford Farm for the 
agricultural work was sent home to the parents, indicating what kind of work the 
boys would be doing, the equipment and clothing needed, and suggestions to 
bring a good book and a dollar or so for spending. Also very important, it said, 
was that "since the school cannot use ration points for food served outside the 
school lunchroom, we have to ask each boy to bring ration points for 1/2 week: 
Eight red points and six blue points, currently valid. He will also have to bring his 
own supply of sugar." 

Working with the Summer Service Corps was the first assignment that Will Talley 
took on when he arrived on campus in the summer of 1943. As a licensed pilot he 
was prepared to teach aviation study and to work on the Piper Cub. The following 
year Talley was not able to work with the Corps, but two other teachers assisted 
Lew Taylor: Ogden Livermore [business manager and shop 1943-46] and Elmer 
Harritt [physical education 1936-47]. The end of the war in 1945 also brought the 
end of the corps. By 1948 the NSCDS Summer Day Camp had become the big 
summer program and would go on for decades. 

Twenty-Fifth Year 

The School celebrated its twenty-fifth year in 1943-44, a year beset with more 
sorrows and difficulties than any that had passed. Yet it started with great 
promise, with a sense of mission. Perry Smith wrote in the October 1943 Notes: 

Twenty-five years ago the principal motive for work offered children in 
schools was usually either avarice or ambitious competition. Prizes, rank- 
lists, and contests were used to urge the students to greater efforts. Very 
little opportunity was given for cooperative effort except on athletic teams. 
The emphasis was all on individual achievement, on excelling rather than 
accomplishing. It was not strange that children hated school and that they 
had little faith in cooperative processes in international relations when they 
grew up. 

This School was founded to meet those needs. It has tried to shift the 
emphasis from competitive to cooperative enterprises, from personal 
reward to community service. It has not always been successful, but it 
seems to have moved steadily forward and to have kept its position in 
the van 

Now, in our twenty-fifth year, the emphasis must shift again. We have 
been thinking in terms of preparation of our students for the war effort and 
that must continue, but . . . we must give more attention to the problem of 


preparing our pupils and ourselves for living in a world seeking to 

perpetuate peace We must condition our boys and girls — by practice — 

to democratic attitudes of living together and especially to give them faith 
— by practice — in democratic ways of resolving differences amicably and 
working out their problems by common consent. These are the attitudes the 
School was created to develop. We know much more about them than we 
did a quarter of a century ago — we have twenty-five years of living and 
working together successfully, as parents and teachers, to guide us and 
encourage us. Surely, we may look forward with hope and confidence to 
the next twenty-five. 

And at the close of the school year, Smith wrote in the June 1944 Notes : 

... It has been a remarkable year in many ways. In the first place it has 
been beset with more difficulties than I can remember in any other year. 

The adjustment to war economy, the acute consciousness of the danger and 
suffering which so many of our lads were facing, the anguish in the hearts 
of the parents waiting for news, and the realization of the woe and agony 
into which the whole world has plunged, formed a heavy burden carried 
silently by each of us with what courage and faith we could muster. 

Mr. Bollinger's sudden and tragic death [shop, business manager, 1921-43] 
just before the opening days of school was a weighty blow. When this was 
followed by the absence of Mr. Corkran [English 1926-44] who was stricken 
suddenly by illness during the Christmas holidays, and when shortly 
thereafter Mr. Wilcock [English, history 1940-44] was called to the colors in 
the Navy, it seemed indeed as if we were about to be overwhelmed. 

The School, however, is a cooperative institution. Never has it shown itself 
to be more worthy of that name. The parents came quickly to the aid of the 
faculty, helping to steady the pupils in spite of the great disappointment 
and shock of losing so many of our strongest teachers at such a crucial time. 
The faculty closed ranks and, aided by members of our Graduate Teachers 

College, carried on Never have we had more loyal support. The 

students, too, did their part splendidly. They took over service duties 
usually carried by the janitors and have continued to perform them with 
increased efficiency throughout the year. 

The senior class was, of course, hardest hit by our faculty losses, for they 
had been looking forward to Mr. Corkran's classes as their best preparation 
for the work at college. They might easily have become panic-stricken at the 

sudden loss. They did not They determined to supply themselves with 

the spark formerly derived from him and to turn loss into gain so far as 
they were able. They have done so. They have risen to the challenge and 
developed an initiative, responsibility, and courage, which they might 
never have achieved if their school year had continued more normally 

In the field of student government also, the seniors rose to the situation 
valiantly. They assumed new responsibilities quickly and efficiently, taking 


over much of the responsibility for the supervision of study halls and 
working out an excellent plan of student-teacher cooperation which is being 
carried on by the present junior class. 

The year may have seemed full of discouraging events and difficult 
problems indeed, but the inspiration and satisfaction which comes from 
surmounting them successfully, by working together as a team, far 
outweigh the other factors — To the Faculty, the Students, the Parents, and 
particularly to the Directors who have worked unselfishly and without stint, 
we all owe a deep debt, indeed. 

After the War 

Even after the war was over, Perry Smith did not let the School family forget the 

suffering that continued in war-devastated nations overseas. Especially at 

Christmas 1945, he touched the consciences of the readers of Notes: 

With the return of Peace and the joy of welcoming home again so many of 
our men and boys and girls from the Services, this Christmas will be one 
long remembered and cherished. But in that joy and rejoicing there is an 
underlying note of sadness, for we cannot fail to remember the homes 
where some who went out so valiantly a short time ago will not return to 
make the circle complete at their family gatherings. To them and to their 
parents we owe a heavy debt. 

Then too there are homes in Europe and Asia, where although the war is 
over, the sacrifices continue, and the burden of existence is even heavier 
than in war time. Their problem of food and shelter alone will be terrific, 
and while we are feasting in our land of plenty, in many countries that were 
our allies there is famine and want. 

It would seem well to consider with our children whether or not we could 
brighten the holiday spirit by taking thought for those in Europe who are in 
dire need 

We have this Christmas an opportunity to lay the foundations of a world in 
which lasting peace may be possible. Young people, especially those of 
high school age, will have to play a large part in securing it. They are at a 
very impressionable period of their lives. If they can be brought to form the 
habit of considering something more than the mere pleasure of the moment 
... of remembering their less fortunate neighbors in this One World of ours, 
to the end that when they find themselves in the midst of plenty they give 
some thought to sharing it with those who need it, the effect on their 
characters would be great and the results in terms of a social order which 
will keep the peace, not unimportant. . . . 


The price of one party, forgone by our boys and girls, would feed many 
hungry children abroad and the results in terms of good will would be 

At this Christmas time perhaps we would do well to emphasize more the 
thought of Peace and Good Will in deed as well as in word in the minds of 
our young people. 

The following Christmas (December 1946 Notes) message contained further 

suggestions by Smith for educating for peace and creating good will: 

. . . Our children have been fortunate, indeed, in having been spared most 
of the horrors of war. Very few children in any other nation have been so 
completely untouched by its suffering. We, as parents, have been able to 
provide them with more than enough to keep them well-fed, well-clothed 
and now, in the reconversion period, are perhaps able to give them luxuries. 
We are happy, of course, to be able to do this, but like everything else, it has 
its price. Too often this price may turn out to be the loss of the spirit of 
good will and the growth of a spirit of selfishness and indulgence in its 
place. Unless we guard zealously against these dangers, they soon 
overwhelm and stifle the characters of children living comfortable and 
easy lives. 

This has been true at all times, before the war as well as now. It was in an 
attempt to overcome this peril that for years we carried on the Santa Claus 
Toy Shop project at the School. This helped the children not only to realize 
the privations of others and their need for help, but also enabled them to do 
something about rectifying that condition immediately. This year, however, 
the situation is changed and broadened. Very few children in America 
actually need toys, and even fewer are in want of food and clothing, but we 
are almost the only nation in the world that does not lack both sorely 

. . . With this in mind, the boys and girls and teachers early in the fall set up 
an organization to take the place of the old Santa Claus Toy Shop. We call 
it the Student Friendship Exchange, and we try to have every group in the 
school take part in it. We have written to France and Holland and 
Czechoslovakia, and with the help of the Quaker organization set up for 
that purpose, begun to exchange letters with schools in those countries as 
nearly as possible like our school and whose needs are great. Every week 
we collect clothing, food, and school supplies, trying to secure those articles 
which our correspondents tell us are most needed, and wrap these into 
packages and send them to Europe. Naturally, at Christmas time, we tend 
to be more active than ever in this enterprise and we hope the parents will 
join with us in this work. 

It might be possible during the holidays, when many parents in Winnetka 
are appalled at the extravagance of the entertainments offered to their 
children, that some groups would be unwilling to indulge themselves to 


quite so great an extent and would like instead to take the money and time 
thus saved and use it for a similar purpose — to bring about a lessening of 
the sacrifices of those children of countries on the other side of the Atlantic 
who have already had to suffer and sacrifice so much more than we, and 
for the cause which we share. 

If such a spirit is cultivated in our children now, it cannot help but bring 
large returns in the near future. But it is not a self-perpetuating plant; it 
grows only where it is carefully cultivated, and the stagnant soil of self- 
indulgence does not lend itself to such growth. The Christmas holidays 
should be dedicated to joy and good fellowship, but these must be the by- 
product, not the objectives of the true and basic spirit of Christmas, which is 
now more than ever the determination to do all we can to bring about 
"Peace on Earth" through good will toward all men everywhere 

Global Projects 

A number of class projects developed during the remaining years of the decade 
which indicated a rising global awareness within the school community. News 
from the lower school in 1946 [May Notes]: 

Many of the children in various parts of the School have become very 
conscious of the needs of European children in the countries that were 
subjugated by the Germans. In the lower school the fifth grade became 
interested in Holland. From this grew the desire to assist a Dutch boy 
through the "Save the Children Foundation, Inc." The fifth graders 
discussed with Miss [Lillian] Griffin [1921-52] how to "adopt" a Dutch boy 
and worked out for themselves how much individual responsibility each 
child could take. 

The fifth graders have received a letter from their Dutch "classmate" and 
hope that this will begin a pen friendship and be the first of many 
adventures in international understanding and ways toward future peace. 

The class gave an account in "Little Morning Ex." of all that they had found 
out about the Dutch and about Holland. The very good maps they had 
drawn were shown to the other children. 

The Experiment in International Living 

In October of 1946 Perry Smith received a letter from the director of The 
Experiment in International Living, Donald Watt, telling him of plans to transform 
the Experiment from a one-man organization to one of more responsibility and 
permanence. Mr. Watt asked if Virginia Deane [English and history 1946-69] could 
be present at the planning meeting because of her knowledge of the Experiment. 


Two weeks later Smith replied: 

October 24, 1946 

My dear Donald: 

... I am sure that the interest of the language department here, not to 
mention the social science department, will ... be very great, and that we 
will be more than anxious to take part in whatever projects you decide to 
carry out. 

From what I have already sensed from talking with the pupils, I feel sure 
that the sort of thing that they would most like to do is what the Quakers 
apparently were able to do last year, namely, to send over boys and girls in 
work groups, who would go to the devastated schools in France and the 
Low Countries and in Germany, and anywhere else where help is needed, 
and roll up their sleeves and pitch in to help re-build and get back onto 
their feet die schools which have been ruined. Some of our teachers who 
are members of the Society of Friends have told them a little bit of the sort 
of thing that was done, and some of our pupils have been in contact with 
young college people who went over last summer to do this type of work. 
The boys and girls here, I am proud to say, are very anxious to work rather 
than just to kill time enjoying themselves during the summer. Any projects 
which would mean going to a foreign country, learning to speak the 
language by living in the small towns or villages with the people, and 
working with them to rehabilitate them from the devastation of the war 
would be eagerly entered ihto, I am sure. 

I spoke with Ginnie Deane '41 about the possibility of her going east, but 
she was quite right in feeling that, as this is her first year of full-time 
teaching, and she has a heavy and difficult program, she had better not be 
away from the post until at least after mid-year. 

I am particularly pleased and moved by the number of former pupils in this 
school who are now, like Ginnie, in the teaching profession. I made a 
rough estimate the other day, and I believe we have something in the 
neighborhood of fifteen or sixteen who are so engaged. Considering our 
size, I feel we are doing pretty well, and hope I may be pardoned a glow 
of pride. 

Please give my warmest regards to your wife. I am still remembering with 
the greatest pleasure the fun I had at your chalet in Putney. That is one of 
the most unusual and delightful homes I have ever had the privilege of 
entering. With warm personal regards. 

Yours sincerely. 
Perry Dunlap Smith 


In early November of 1946 Donald Watt responded to Smith. Watt suggested that 
although young people who go to Europe on work projects come back more ready 
to sacrifice for peace, the participants in the Experiment may have a more 
significant experience because the essential ingredient is living with people of 
another culture, "dealing primarily with people, and not primarily with things, 
which is sometimes the case in work projects." The following summer the 
Experiment planned to send teams of camp counselors to work in French camps 
for children. Watt was interested in NSCDS students participating if they had the 
language skill to handle it. 

After a clarifying exchange of letters. Ferry Smith replied: 

January 16, 1947 

My dear Donald: 

I have turned your letter over to the heads of my French and modem 
language departments and have discussed with them the posssibility of 
any of our students being able to take advantage of the unusual 
opportunity to act as counsellors at the French camps next summer 

Of course, we would not have to change our classroom work to meet the 
requirements which you indicate in your pamphlet and your letter. We are 
teaching the children to converse, and the type of thing that is provided in 
the materials that you sent me is exactly the sort of thing we provide and 
use here in the School. I believe more and more schools are turning in this 
direction, although the new type of College Board examination may hinder 
it somewhat. I was delighted to leam of this opportunity to have the 
American students help the French camps. 

If I could be of any use, I should be most happy to accept it in furthering 
this work. Were it not for my doctor's orders after the bout I had at the 
Mayo Clinic a year ago, I would be strongly tempted to volunteer to go 
over myself, but they seem to feel that I must have freedom from 
responsibility for the behavior of students and other school matters of that 
kind through the whole summer. Also I cannot overtax my endurance as I 
used to; I find I must take part of the day to relax, which I'm afraid pretty 
well bars me from active service. If there were some niche in which I could 
be of any use overseas, in an advisory capacity or something of that kind, I 
should be awfully happy to have an excuse to get back into Europe and to 
help, particularly in France. 

Very truly yours. 
Perry Dunlap Smith 

No indication of such a niche ever opening up was found. Smith's good friend, 
Carleton Washbume, had left Winnetka in 1943 and became an educational 
consultant in Italy after the war. But there was plenty to do for Europe from the 


United States, and Smith took full advantage of his moral suasion in the North 
Shore community. 

European Projects 

The lower school too was involved in the European project. In the March 1947 
Notes, Gladys Adshead (lower school head 1943-49) described what the Lower 
School Sewing Committee was doing for its part in the European project: 

The Lower School Sewing Committee is only two weeks old, but already 
has had time to collect, sort, mend, and pack 223 pounds of clothing which 
is on its way to our sponsored school in Holland. . . Every Monday 
morning a group [of mothers] meets in the tutoring room on the top floor of 
Walling Hall to mend and remake garments. The faculty takes sewing and 
knitting to meetings and to work on at odd times. Much is being 

accomplished, but more volunteers are needed [T]he need of our 

sponsored school is dire. It is an elementary school of 270 pupils in the 
village of Huissen. The "Save the Children Federation" says of it: "Huissen 

served as a garrison for the Germans during the occupation The 

schools were closed as the teachers refused to teach the German doctrines. 
With the liberation, the town became a battlefield, and almost everything 
was destroyed by bombs, shells, and fire. 

"The children were forced to seek shelter in damp cellars, ditches, and the 
debris of destruction. The school buildings were direct hits, and were 
totally destroyed. We have been holding school in an old building without 
windows, heat, and with very little equipment. This part of the 
Netherlands has severe winters. The children are undernourished and very 
nervous. They do not have warm clothing and shoes, so are unable to 
attend school regularly." 

A year later, in the April 1948 Notes, a letter from Huissen was printed: 

February 29, 1948 

Dear Colleague, 

Probably you will think that I am very ungrateful, never giving you a sign 
of life for the wonderful gifts you, your colleagues and tire children have 
sent us. The principle reason of this delay was that I had a nervous 
break-down, which lasted rather long, after getting back to our town when 
the war was over and finding the terrible chaos they had left behind. 

If I only tell you that two and one half years after the war is over we are still 
teaching the children in old workmen's barracks, you probably can imagine 
how badly our little town was hit. 


All your sendings were a God-send and really your people did the most 
wonderful job in the world; everything looked so nice and clean and even 
ironed! The wonderful coats, topcoats and suits were accepted by the 
population with the greatest joy and thankfulness. 

I cannot go to church, to school or walk in the streets or I meet boys, girls 
and their parents wearing all the clothing which you collected for us to help 
us out, also all the underwear was very welcome. 

Every day I see boys and girls wearing the shoes your pupils have sent 
them. Every time when a sending arrived, (and I received seven of them) I 
went through the list of the school to check the most urgent ones, not only 
the pupils but their families as well. 

Many times they asked me, "Tell me. Sir, is that all for me alone?" The toys, 
dolls, dominos, etc. were welcome for the Infant School, and the children 
play with them every day. At the present now we are having such cold 
weather, I see my pupils with your socks, snowboots and galoshes. I have 
the idea that your school is for a better class children; as for mine, it is only 
for the working class people who are working in the stone factories along 
the Rhine. 

I shall finish this letter now, but first I want to apologize for the time it took 
me to send you my answer and thanks. Will you please accept many 
thanks, not only you but also your colleagues and your pupils, of the 
children and their parents of the City of Huissen, for all the trouble you 
gave yourself to offer a helping hand to those who were so badly stricken 
through the war. 

With many collegial greetings, very sincerely yours, 

J. T. Greefhorst, 

Head of the School E 54 
a Huissen, near Arnhem 

In the same issue of Notes Miss Adshead wrote of the gratitude from other 
countries which received packages from NSCDS. Letters were received from 
Germany, Italy, England, and Denmark. Something special happened in England: 

The 4th grade letters to children in an English school made front page news 
in the evening paper of a large city. The Manchester Evening News published 
a picture of the girls at the school reading a letter from our children. The 
importance of understanding contacts between the two countries is evident. 
(The paper shortage reduces British newspapers to four sheets, yet news of 
our school letter was given the center of the front page.) 


Importance of Discipline 

Along with the stress on democratic ideals and reaching out to those in need 
overseas. Perry Dunlap Smith wrote a great deal about the importance of discipline 
during the 1940s. That may have been because wartime demands imposed a 
greater awareness of the need for discipline, or he may have been trying to 
counteract the heavy criticism of progressive education for its supposed lack of 
discipline. Whatever the case, by the end of the school year in 1945, the promise of 
world peace was very real. In the face of that promise, the concern for teaching 
young people how to live in peace was uppermost in Smith's mind. He believed 
that inherent in the ability to live in peace was the necessity for self-discipline. In 
the June 1945 Notes, he wrote: 

. . . The school year is practically over and there is a reasonable prospect 
that our next school year will be the first of the reconversion to peace era. 

We have already gradually but steadily been shifting the emphasis in our 
school work from training for war to training our boys and girls to play an 
understanding and effective part in a world which is determined to stay at 
peace and recognizes the problem as one of world unity and cooperation 
within the framework of the rights of man. 

These principles are, strangely enough, the very ones laid down by the 
great leaders of the new education in 1898 — John Dewey, Francis Parker, 
Frank McMurray, William Killpatrick and the others — when they insisted 
that the child's individuality should be respected and at the same time he 
should be constantly taught that his highest duty was to be of use to his 
fellows. They preached that no one leams unless he is allowed to practice 
what he is learning, and that to teach democracy in a school room in which 
the entire atmosphere was autocratic was futile and senseless. That to 
regiment a child so that he lost any opportunity to exercise initiative, except 
by stealth, did not make a good citizen of a democracy, but rather an easy 
prey for fascist demagoguery. 

The war seems to have confirmed many of these theories. Carlson's Raiders 
achieved their remarkable state of vigorous initiative and courage through 
a carefully worked out program quite unique in military methods. As 
described in a recent article in Fortune magazine, this type of training 
differed from the conventional army course in recognizing and respecting 
the rights of the individual's personality and giving many opportunities for 
its expression, even through such "Progressive" media as art, music and 
poetry. There were discussion groups and seminars for the purpose of 
working out together problems of the platoon or company, which sound 
strongly like some of our own town meetings. The astonishing fact about 
the results of such unorthodoxy was, not only the extreme bravery and 
efficiency of these soldiers, but the fact that compared to the other 
regiments who shared the extremes of jungle fighting with them the 
number of men who broke under the strain of battle was astonishingly low. 


The question of discipline in schools has been often argued and with 
diametrically opposed conclusions as the result. The fact of the matter is, 
as far as I have been able to judge it, that there is a place for both kinds of 
discipline: the instant, unquestioning and willing obedience to an order and 
also the self-discipline which comes from within a man through having 
schooled himself to think and to sacrifice and to consider others besides 
himself. The important thing is that he should understand clearly the 
difference between these two types and know when to apply each. We 
blame the German people, and rightly, for having failed to question the 
orders of the Gestapo to assist in committing atrocities. We will not accept 
their excuse of having been trained to obey orders implicitly, and yet I have 
learned the same persons who are most violent in accusing the Germans of 
lack of character in not questioning the orders of their superiors, are equally 
violent in accusing our American schools of lack of character for not 
teaching . . . exactly the same type of blind obedience to our children. 

Two students of the second half of the decade, Don Palmer '47 and Comer 

Plummer '48, remember the kind of discipline that was instilled: 

What made North Shore so good? The discipline. You had to be there on 
time. If you were late, you got a little white slip. Nobody wanted one of 
those little white slips because that meant a talk with Doc [Anderson]. A 
couple of those little white slips meant a call to your parents. Not turning in 
homework meant "late study." That was an after-school study session in 
the library on the top floor of Dunlap. You sat there and did your work, 
and you had a faculty monitor. If you got a W[eak] P[ass], you had to be 
tutored in order to continue. You had to do certain things whether you 
liked it or not. [Fall sports, chorus, opera] You also had to do the cleaning 
of the building, the homerooms, the halls. They would be inspected, so you 
better make sure you had done a good job. 

By early 1949 the issue of discipline had become so intense that Perry Smith saw 

the need to address an entire essay to that topic. In the February 1949 Notes, he 


When the School first started, this question [of discipline] was one of the 
most frequently asked. After we had been in successful operation for a 
good many years, it seemed to disappear from most people's minds, 
especially if they had any first-hand acquaintance with the way the School 
was conducted. It was obvious that the answer, both as to theory and 
practice, was "Emphatically, Yes!" Of late, however, the old query seems to 
have come up again often enough to warrant my discussing the issue in the 
columns of this issue of Notes. 

. . . True modem, educational thought, far from disregarding the 
importance of discipline, actually places more emphasis upon it by 
insisting that it be real self-control and that it be not only enforced but 
understood. No real freedom is ever possible without self-discipline and 


self-control. One of the heritages of civilization to which every child is 
entitled is to know, understand and appreciate that under certain 
conditions instant, willing and complete obedience to properly constituted 
authorities is essential to the happiness of all. It is the duty of the home and 
the school to see that every child frequently has the advantages of this 
essential experience. It has evolutionary significance. The child has a right 
to the true value and security of laws imposed and accepted by the group 
of which he is a member. He must continue in his growth, however, until 
he develops into reasoning and understanding obedience. To arrest him on 
the blind obedience level by giving him no chance to practice his own 
initiative or to make his own mistakes would be to repeat the mistake of the 
German nation in their pre-war philosophy of Prussianism. 

It is not easy to bring children to the level of self-discipline (many adults 
have failed to achieve it for themselves except in a very weak form), but we 
can at least strive for it by having the courage to risk allowing freedom 
from the authoritarian type of control and substituting for it control 
founded on respect and responsibility for the welfare of others. Certainly, 
the chances for success will be greater if the home and school work together 
toward a common objective with mutual understanding and from a similar 
point of view. One cannot always, at each age level, achieve self-control on 
the part of the children. When one fails, it is always possible to fall back 
temporarily on the old rule-by-force methods; but to do that permanently 
would be a way of training young totalitarians rather then future citizens of 
a democracy. Self-discipline would seem to be an essential factor in the 
success of the democratic way of life. 

Smith periodically reminded parents of the ways in which they could help 
reinforce the matter of discipline with their children. As "the faculty in charge of 
the dormitories," the parents could ensure that their children have: 

. . . suitable conditions on every week day night to ensure good study habits. 
This includes, besides the usual physical factors of good light and 
ventilation, protection from distractions and interruptions, and regularity 
of study hours. A recent poll of one of the high school classes taken last 
week indicated that many children need far more help than they are being 
given in such matters. There should be regulations regarding study periods 
approximating the conditions under which evening study is regulated at 
good boarding schools. This usually includes two study periods of one 
hour each from about 7:30 to 9:30 every night. During this period no 
telephoning or answering of telephones is permitted nor are radios allowed. 

Our poll showed that almost half the class spent one hour or more (one 
claimed two and one-half hours) on the telephone on the evening in 
question. Some students were permitted to go to the telephone six times 
that night. This is certainly not conducive to good study habits. 


Smith pointed out another important factor: regularity in beginning and ending 
studying for the night and a specific bedtime. There was also the problem of 
distractions on weekends. 

It would seem that it was a little excessive for young high school children to 
feel that they must attend a movie before a dance and then go to an open 
house afterward, arriving home at 1:30 a.m., all in one evening; and yet, 
that is exactly what many of them did last Saturday. 

The competition to enter college was never so great as it is now and will be 
for several years to come. Many colleges have announced that they have 
reduced their quota from high school graduates by 80% to make room for 
veterans. This means that only the students with the strongest academic 
records will be accepted. In the face of this we must give our boys and girls 
every opportunity to do their best work, and nine hours of sleep per night 
will be little enough. Sending them away to boarding school does not solve 
the difficulty, for the colleges have advised us that even with the limitation 
of numbers, they intend to maintain their representation from the whole of 
the country, and hence there is an advantage in applying from a state at a 
distance from New England. 

In the matter of preventing social distractions, the problem may be solved 
more easily by controlling the situation at home than by running away from 
it into the even more advanced sophistications to be learned away from 
home. In the past our parents have brought about beneficial changes and 
improvements in the community atmosphere. It takes only a realization of 
what we want and the courage to act together to get it. I have found no 
lack of either of these qualities in our parents' group in the past. The 
soundness of our children's present attitudes bears testimony to the 
wisdom of their parents today. Though they may seem to object at the time, 
in the long run I have found the children deeply grateful for this type of 
help and protection given by their parents. 

Changes in College Admissions 

One of the most interesting sociological experiments to take place after World War 
II was the GI Bill of Rights. This legislation opened college doors to thousands of 
returning military men and women who in other times probably would not have 
had the advantage of higher education. Not only were they given the financial 
wherewithal to attend college, but their academic performance was far superior to 
what anyone would have predicted. This was to have enormous implications for 
the young high school students seeking admission to the same institutions. 

Another change in entrance policies was the switch in the College Board 
examinations from emphasis on essay writing to multiple-choice questions. The 
latter type of test allowed for a one-day sitting of three hours in the morning and 
three in the afternoon. Unlike tine subject matter essay-based examinations, which 


were taken in the latter part of June, the Scholastic Aptitude Test with its multiple 
choice questions was taken in the early part of April. 

Perry Smith wrote about these implications in the April 1949 Notes: 

The total result has been that the whole admissions procedure has changed. 

It is far more comprehensive than it was. They want to look at the whole 
boy or girl and his entire experience, including his family life and home 
environment, as well as his school record. They ask about his emotional 
balance and adjustment and also about the atmosphere of his home. They 
are particularly concerned about his real interest in learning and his ability 
to plan his own time and to work without adult supervision, and they ask 
for examples of such behavior to prove the point. With girls they are 
anxious to know about absences due to illnesses, which is sometimes a 
shock to parents who have formed a habit of expecting consideration and 
allowances to be made for a girl who misses school frequently because of ill 
health. The colleges do not consider a girl ready to come to them until she has 
solved such a health problem. 

Concerning subjects, the schools are now given great freedom. It is the 
ability of the student to work and progress in the field rather than the 
information that has been stored away that interests them most. No single 
criterion, such as examination marks or school grades or rank in class is 
considered alone. Each of these is studied in relation to all the others, and a 
complete picture of the student as a whole results. These changes are, of 
course, most welcome to us at North Shore, for we have been working on 
these very principles from the beginning. Our whole school philosophy 
emphasizes these points. It is not surprising, therefore, that we have been 
gratifyingly successful in the admissions of our graduates to the better 
colleges since the war. 

Smith then listed the total figures for college admissions for North Shore graduates 
for 1947 and 1948. Many were still going to the Ivy League (for instance, for the 
boys: Harvard - 1, Princeton - 2, Dartmouth - 3, MIT - 1, Brown - 4; and the girls: 
Smith - 8, Radcliffe - 1, Vassar - 4, Wellesley - 2), but a growing number of students 
were going to more of the "less demanding" institutions. 

Life Within the School 

Despite all the claims for attention from the world beyond the campus, life within 
the School continued with its traditions and celebrations to mark the passing years. 
In the autumn of the forties, a new tradition grew out of the old vacation fair which 
had lost its appeal by the end of the thirties. By 1939 the vacation fair had evolved 
into a Harvest Carnival, which featured hobbies of the students along with 
concession stands. Soon it became merely an occasion for money-making booths to 
sell their goods. 


When the Summer Service Corps came into existence in the early forties, there was 
produce to be harvested from the gardens on campus, providing a worthy autumn 
activity. The 1945 Mirror described the Harvest Festival that year: 

There were a great many different committees, each with its senior foreman. 
The wood-choppers got busy and split up a large pile of firewood which 
ought to fill the fireplaces of the School and Leicester for the winter. The 
earners, undaunted by bushels of garden produce, canned pints and quarts 
of fruit and vegetables. Several teams went out to the nearby farms to help 
the farmers get their crops in and, in return, received a part of the load. 

From this generous supply of fruit and vegetables we sent to Chicago 
Commons [a social service agency] squash; to St. Francis Hospital squash, 
pears, apples, cabbages, carrots, and beets; to Evanston Hospital cabbages 
and squash; while to Benton House went beets, squash, green tomatoes, 
three eggplants, a few pears and apples, and one lone pumpkin. The School 
kept some tomatoes and applesauce. 

Altogether it was a very successful day and supplied the School and 
various charities with a great deal of both fresh and canned food. 

By the end of the forties the Harvest Festival had become a fall Work Day or 
Pick-Up Day followed by Purple and White games and ice cream. For a number of 
years both spring and fall Work Days were part of the calendar. It is not certain 
when spring work day was dropped, although the article on Work Day from the 
April 1949 Purple and White offered a clue about what may have happened: 

For a change Work Day was not rained out or postponed, but came off on 
schedule. Part of the reason for this was the excellent organization behind 
the whole day. Instead of vague oral instructions as to where you were to 
work and with whom, a Work Day assignment sheet was posted in all 
rooms and buildings to lessen confusion. This sheet also indicated the 
equipment you would need for your job. 

It could be that the show of efficiency helped carry Work Day through 
Town Meeting in a record one session. Our readers will remember that the 
last Work Day almost meant the death of this custom, via the lower house 
(Town Meeting). Yet this Work Day was pushed on to the students in the 
same Faculty manner that caused so much disturbance over the last 
Work Day. . . 

In 1960 the fall and spring Work Days were still in existence. By the late seventies 
there was only fall Work Day. 


The Opera 

The decade of the forties opened with The Pirates of Penzance. In true community 
fashion, everyone had something to do. Ramsay Duff, the music director who 
came to North Shore in 1931, directed the orchestra, composed largely of members 
of the School. Perry Smith, Duff, and Margaret Radcliffe [drama, Latin and social 
studies 1929-45] all had a say in stage direction. Alice Gleason [physical education 
1936-42] choreographed and coached the chorus in "expressive action." Edith Jane 
Bacon [art 1927-47] designed all the costumes, including approximately eighty 
dresses, no two identical. Once again, the mothers put in weeks of painstaking 
work on the sewing. Both performances were well-attended in spite of the fact that 
several other schools gave the same opera that year. 

Ruddigore was produced in 1941. When the School geared up for the war years, it 
was suggested that opera be dropped in order to give more time to war activities. 
Patty Ostrom Kohnen '60, in her study of school traditions, told what happened: 

... so many protests were received from alumni in the service, who 
regarded the opera as one of the best of their school experiences, that the 
music department was encouraged to go ahead with it as usual. 

The production in 1942, however, was not quite as usual: two operas are produced. 
One was Trial by Jury, the short Gilbert and Sullivan operetta; the other was 
Xingabru, a North Shore original by Ramsay Duff and a junior, John Jameson '43. 
The grand event was described in the March 10, 1942 Purple and White: 

High ho, once more North Shore goes theatrical and swings wholeheartedly 
into the production of this year's operatic offering. A truce has been called 
in sports battles and, instead of the thump of basketballs upon the gym 
floor, we hear the tramp of marching feet and singing voices as the 
"Mounties" give with "Onward, onward, pushing onward." Instead of the 
cries "kill that ref," we hear the voice of the student body singing with 
reverence, "Now he is a judge, and a good judge, too." The student body 
has been transformed from normal happy girls and boys into bridesmaids, 
jurymen, cannibals, court spectators, mounted police and weird little men 
with screw drivers behind their ears and lightbulbs in their hip pockets 
scampering around on the catwalk. One wonders, will North Shore ever be 
the same again? 

This strange malady claims almost the whole high school at this time every 
year. In the shop, art room, costume room, on the stage, there is nothing 
but busy turmoil and dull moans of the stricken. The first symptoms are a 
humming in the ears and a tingling in the larynx, followed by a buzzing as 
if of sewing machines in the vicinity of the costume room, a hammering and 
rasping, sawlike sounds in the shop. If the victim suddenly finds himself on 
the stage, singing loudly and going through strange motions, boy! He's a 
dead pigeon, he's got it! 


The crisis this year will be on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 

March 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd. Once the crisis is over, convalescence is 
rapid, speeded by a long spring vacation rest. Cheer up, the worst is yet 
to come. 

Xingabru received enthusiastic response and would be repeated again in a longer 
version later in the decade. 

The Gondoliers was the 1943 production. The Mirror that year commented: 

Though it was feared that increased taxes and gas rationing would cut 
down the attendance, the Friday night receipts surpassed all previous 
records for that evening, and the Saturday night performance was a sell-out. 

The following year Patience was the selection. From the Mirror of 1944: 

A unique thing occurred this year — no epidemic broke out the week 
before March 17. It's the first time in history! Both Friday and Saturday 
nights' casts gave their best, unhandicapped by measles or mumps. 

The ever-popular Pirates of Penzance was the 1945 choice. That year the boys' 
chorus, especially the tenor section, was the largest ever. A special cut version was 
given later at Fort Sheridan Hospital. "Although mumps reared its ugly head very 
prominently in the middle and lower schools, the high school miraculously 
managed to escape," according to the Mirror of 1945. 

Ruddigore was known as "Bloody Gore" in the "feverish" frantic days preceding its 
presentation in 1946. Apparently, illness was not a problem that year because it 
was not mentioned in any of the descriptions. 

Each year, quietly working behind the scenes of the opera, was the director of the 
art department, Edith Jane Bacon, who came to North Shore in 1927. She studied at 
the Art Institute of Chicago and the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago, as well as in 
Spain and in Eastern Europe with the International School of Art. Ramsay Duff in 
the May 1947 Notes described his collaboration on the operas with Miss Bacon and 
the way she used the operas to teach: 

I remember with special pleasure the first time we did The Gondoliers 
together. Miss Bacon's understanding of the potentialities of color and 
picturesqueness in producing the required settings fired her students to a 
tremendous pitch of creative effort. I can see as if it were yesterday: the 
vista of the Grand Canal of Venice taking form on the backdrop; the design, 
as I recall it now, being made from a postcard print that Miss Bacon herself 
had brought home from Venice. The second act scene, a pavilion in the 
Court of Barataria, had an air of sombre elegance, set off to perfection by 
the view, through a wide window, of a rich and brilliant tropical landscape. 
The costumes, designed from authentic prints and beautifully correct in 
detail, carried out the scheme of contrast between the characters of the 


Perry Dunlap Smith enjoys the School's 25th anniversary. 

Upper school faculty 
members pose for the Mirror. 

Here is a peek at a boys' class. 

Edith Bacon's art classes were in Knollslea. 


First graders of 1943 enjoy the fish with Evelyn Kratz. 

William Talley intrigues young 
science students. 

Lower schoolers make music together. 


Court, and the Gondoliers and Contadine. A production so effectively 
mounted could not — and did not! — fail to bring the greatest satisfaction 
to performers and audience alike. 

Then there was Patience, in which the fun poked at the fads and foibles of 
the Pre-Raphaelite period was made twice as funny — and infinitely more 
significant — for the student because of Miss Bacon's care to show them 
precisely what was being made fun of. Her art classes devoted much time 
to studying the development of the Pre-Raphaelite school, and, during all 
the weeks when the Opera was in preparation, the art room was hung with 
prints of the paintings of the period. The languishing maidens portrayed 
by Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Walter Crane and many others became old friends 
to the girls who were to represent the twenty Love-Sick Maidens. It seems 
to me that from Miss Bacon, too, came the inspiration to correlate the work 
of the art department with a study of Swinburne, William Morris and other 
writers of the 'languors and lilies' persuasion in the English classes. 

This is typical of the thoroughness and imaginativeness of Miss Bacon's 
approach to the actual work of design for the Opera: an impending 
production of The Pirates brought forth an excellent exhibition of pictures of 
cathedrals and chapels to suggest possibilities for the second act set; 
Xingabru was preceded by a fine display, everything from Rousseau's 
fantastic jungles to photographs of African tribesmen; and Ruddigore's 
gallery of ancestral portraits gained variety and authenticity from a study 
of various styles of portrait-painting as typified in the work of Sargent, 
Raeburn, Van Dyke, Gainsborough, and so on. Thus, while Miss Bacon 
focuses attention on the Opera, she makes it also the means of introducing 
many forms and styles of art, and so of stimulating fresh interests. 

The use of the Opera as a starting point for creative art projects has also 
been a thing I have watched with great pleasure. This year, for instance, the 
auditorium lobby blossomed out after the Opera with a colorful array of 
paintings by students, of scenes suggested by the study of tropical 
landscapes. The range of subject and treatment was impressive, convincing 
evidence of the genuine interest and eagerness behind tine work. Such 
discernment in taking advantage of a vital current interest to stimulate 
active, original expression, is the characteristic of a first-rate teacher. 

Opening Paths for Children's Feet to Follow 

Perry Dunlap Smith, too, paid tribute to Edith Jane Bacon, a tribute as valuable for 
its insight into the School's philosophy regarding the arts as it was for its 
acknowledgment of an individual teacher. From the May 1947 Notes: 


In a school which believes that a sense and appreciation of beauty in form 
and color is not merely an isolated accomplishment for a few individuals, 
but an integral part of the growth and development of all of its pupils, it is 

necessary to have a strong personality at the head of the art department. It 
is no easy task to handle a class of young high school boys who are taking 
art, not because they have an interest in it or any inclination for it, but 
largely for the single reason that they are required to take it by the school 
authorities. An art or music teacher who has never had anyone in her class 
except those pupils who have elected the subject has very little conception 
of even the problem of merely maintaining order in a class where the 
attendance is compulsory. Miss Bacon has no overpowering physical 
strength to aid her, she is small and fragile rather than robust, her voice is 
soft and low, yet she never fails to achieve control over even the most 
unruly group of adolescents after they have known her classroom 
techniques for a short while. 

To see a huge hulking lad who had previously regarded all art as sissy stuff, 
and who stoutly maintained that he couldn't even draw a straight line and 
cared less about trying, gradually come to have some faith in his own 
ability, and a steadily increasing awareness of a whole new field of 
enjoyment until he comes to the studio on his own initiative and in his free 
time to work on some concept of an abstraction, which brings him obvious 
satisfaction in something like the same quantity as do his athletic pursuits, 
is an ever recurring wonder and delight to those who visit the studios on 
the second floor of Knollslea. . . 

If one of the greatest objectives of education is "to keep open and in use all 
the avenues to the soul," Miss Bacon can be listed high among the country's 
greatest educators. We may say of her as was said of another great teacher, 
"She opened paths for children's feet to follow. Something of her will be a 
part of us forever." 

The tributes of Ramsay Duff and Perry Smith indicate why the arts were 
considered essential to the kind of education the School was created to give. Miss 
Bacon retired in 1947, but the arts department continued to influence every student 
enrolled in the School, and the opera continued to go on year after year — with 
only a few variations — as in 1947. 

Ramsay Duff wrote about the 1947 production in the February 1947 Notes: 

The Comic Opera "Xingabru," by John Jameson and Ramsay Duff, was 
begun in 1941 and was given its first presentation in March, 1942, in a 
double bill with Gilbert and Sullivan's "Trial by Jury." The author, who 
was at that time a student in the junior class, played the part of the fugitive. 

On his return from army service in Europe last spring, he and the composer 
[Duff himself] went over the entire score and libretto, revising, expanding 
and improving, so that this year's production will be a full length 
presentation, retaining all the most successful features of the original and 
including an overture and much other new material. 


The Opera follows the Gilbert and Sullivan plan as far as general outline 
and liberal use of the chorus is concerned, but the scene of action and the 
characters involved are entirely original. The setting is a jungle; the persons 
of the play include a Fugitive, his large family of attractive daughters (all of 
whom have been brought up in the jungle), a company of Northwest 
Mounted Police and a tribe of cannibals. 

Rehearsals are now in progress for chorus and orchestra, and auditions are 
being held for the nine leading parts. The Opera has been privately 
published; the score of 128 pages includes the songs with piano 
accompaniment and all the dialogue. These copies are well-bound and are 
printed (not mimeographed), and may be bought at the school store. 

The cannibal king of "Xingabru" that year was Don Palmer '47. He remembers 
donning long winter underwear which had been dyed brown and putting on black 
face. He recalls: 

Mr. Duff saying we were going to have an encore for this number. It was a 
conga line with a whole string of guys. My buddy (who was number two in 
the line) and I got ready to go back on stage, assuming the rest of the guys 
were behind us. When we got back out on stage, we discovered it was just 
the two of us. The other guys had taken off to get a smoke or something. 

Well, it just brought down die house! 

Every kid in the high school had to do something for the opera. If you were 
tone deaf and couldn't sing at all, you worked back stage. I remember Mr. 

Duff would get excited and smash his baton on the music stand. Once 
it broke. 

Ramsay Duff had been at The North Shore Country Day School since 1931. His 
creative energies were channeled into directing the chorus, the school orchestra, 
the A Capella choir, the yearly opera, and vaudeville, but also teaching music 
major classes, giving piano lessons, helping with Morning Exercise and composing. 
In addition to writing the score of Xingabru, he also composed "The Song of the 
Universal," sung at commencement in 1945 and performed at New Trier in 1946. 

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in Ramsay Gardens, he moved with his family to 
Canada when he was six years old. There his father became a professor of classics 
at the University of Toronto. While Ramsay was a student at the same institution, 
he was active in music and drama, participating in many productions of Gilbert 
and Sullivan. Immediately prior to coming to North Shore, Duff taught for two 
years at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. He was an intense worker, energetic, 
enthusiastic and beloved by the students. Ramsay Duff directed only two more 
Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The Mikado in 1948 and lolanthe in 1949. 

The 1949 production of lolanthe was special because Deirdre Duff '50, Ramsay's 
daughter, was singing a leading role. The cast and crew had worked hard since 
early February. It was now mid-March. During the dress rehearsal, Mr. Duff 


suddenly collapsed on the podium — a heart attack. Nothing could be done to 
save him. The whole school community was stunned. Mrs. Duff and Deirdre, with 
student support, decided their husband and father would have wanted the opera 
to go on. Iolanthe opened the following night. 

The Duff family went back to Toronto. The younger child, Steven, was a boy of 
eight at the time of his father's death. Forty years later, in 1987, he returned from 
Toronto to The North Shore Country Day School auditorium, bringing his own 
high school chorus and band to perform for Morning Ex. It was a very moving 

In the June 1949 Notes, Perry Smith, with grief but also with his irrepressible 
optimism, reflected on the year and the decade which had passed: 

Next year will be our thirty-first year, which surprisingly but quite 
naturally means that when these remarks are in the hands of our patrons 
and friends the School will have completed thirty years of service to the 
community and to the cause of the education of young people in America. 

Our thirtieth year has been an active and an enjoyable one; but one, too, 
which has contained both tragic blows and severe losses. The sudden 
death of Mr. Ramsay Duff was the greatest of these. It will be a long time 
before anyone approaching him in moral and intellectual stature as well as 
unswerving devotion to good taste and true understanding of value of great 
music to growing children can be found. He has brought the music 
department of this School to a point undreamed of in most other schools 
and not surpassed in any. The greatest tribute to his work, it seemed to me, 
was the way the students rallied from the shock of his sudden death and 
unhesitatingly demanded that they be allowed to show how well he had 
taught them and how much he meant to them by carrying on with the 
performances of the opera as they knew he would want them to do. 

. . . Another severe blow to the School was Mr. Anderson's decision to retire 
from teaching and active membership on our staff at the end of this year. 

He has been with the school for twenty-nine years at the head of our 
physical education department. What he has given the School and built 
into it in patient, loyal, and inexhaustible strength and devotion to the best 
interests of the boys and girls who worked under him is incalculable. He 
has literally given so much of himself to the children each succeeding year 
that he has been a perfect example of his own frequent admonition to his 
football team to "play each play as though it were going to be your last." 

The Enrollment Crisis 

By spring of 1949 it was apparent that the enrollment, especially in the upper 
school, was dangerously low. The Purple and White pointed out that the girls 
outnumbered the boys by seventy-one to fifty-four. The total number of high 
school students was only 125, far below capacity. Tom Gilmore '50 described the 


effect of the small number of students, especially in the junior boys' homeroom, in 
the April 1949 Purple and White : 

The junior class, as it happens, is a good example of a very much depleted 
class, now encompassing only ten boys. Among its responsibilities are the 
regulating of the lunch line, which involves a good deal of effort in a short 
space of time. Two boys handle this responsibility from 12:40 to 1 p.m. 
daily for a week, whereupon two other boys shoulder the job. Another 
responsibility is the high school parking lot, which is regulated to permit 
only as many cars in the lot as it can hold comfortably. This chore involves 
rising early for a week and being at school about 8:10 or 8:15 a.m. Two boys 
take this job also for a week. Another daily chore is room checking, which 
one boy does for fifteen minutes after school. Room checking is high on the 
list of class responsibilities. It is a system whereby the junior class informs 
the other classes how well they have cleaned their rooms, with . . . praise at 
the end of the year for the class which maintains the best record. 

Through what has just been disclosed, one can see that at least six and 
sometimes ten of the boys are occupied with one job or another throughout 
the week. This alone would not be too bad, but there are many other chores 
such as proctoring study halls which also occupy a good portion of the 
student's time. The old-fashioned school, in which nothing but studying is 
done, is indeed gone. 

The Enrollment Committee 

A special meeting of the executive, steering and enrollment committees of the 
Parents' Association was held in late March of 1949. According to Arthur D. 
Chilgren, president of the Board of Directors of the School, circumstances which 
could be contributing to the enrollment crisis were probably tied to the lower birth 
rate of the early 1930s, the current tightening of the economic situation and the 
Debt Retirement Campaign. The Parents' Association decided to organize a 
permanent Enrollment Committee. 

At this same meeting, James L. Allen of the executive committee of the Board 
described his personal reasons for sending his two daughters (8th and 12th grades) 
to the School. He mentioned the very factors which educational reformers would 
be emphasizing in their recommendations in the 1980s. They were summarized in 
the Notes: 

1. Size of the School. Every child had the opportunity to know all the 
children in the School. 

2. Fine work habits. While it was human for adults and children to 
approach work as an ordeal, Mr. Allen was amazed at the spirit and 
responsible attitude with which his daughters approached their studies — 
an attitude which was new to him and which carried over into the extra- 
curricular activities. 


3. The common bond between parents and children, increasingly important 
at a time when modem life has eliminated so many of these common 
family interests. 

4. The opportunity to participate in all activities. Boys who would never 
make a regular high school team had the opportunity to represent the 
School and to develop what abilities they had rather than to have them 
untapped. The same may be said for participation in the class plays, the 
annual opera and other similar extra-curricular activities. 

5. The democratic atmosphere of the School and the fine way in which new 
children were assimilated by their classmates. There were no cliques such 
as are formed by children in larger schools. 

6. Willingness to accept responsibility, loyalty to the School and classmates, 
fine work habits, breadth of interest in the problems of our times, respect for 
teachers and a generally wholesome attitude. 

George Hanford, the School treasurer [1948-55], gave a statistical picture of the 
School, indicating that each grade could use approximately seven new students. In 
open discussion the consensus of those present at the meeting was that the most 
effective way of bringing new families into the School was by individual and 
personal contact by present parents toward prospective parents. 


Apparently, the awareness of a scholarship program at the School had not been 
widespread knowledge, which may have limited enrollment somewhat. Perry 
Smith discussed the scholarships in the October 1948 Notes: 

When I first accepted the post of headmaster of the School, I did so on 
condition that the governing body do all that it could to make it possible to 
take into the School all pupils whose families believed in its principles and 
wanted to work in it for its success and the furtherance of the ideals it stood 
for. In those days, of course, the School was more in the position of leading 
a crusade against formalism and orthodoxy than it is today when so many 
of the ideas we championed have been accepted and adopted by the more 
forward-looking schools throughout the country. 

The Board heartily agreed with me that if the democratic spirit of the School 
were to be preserved and the pupils were to benefit from knowing and 
working with a varied group of classmates representing a cross section of 
the community, we would have to take steps to prevent its pupils from 
coming too generally from any one financial, social, or other group. We felt 
it was of great benefit for children to learn to know and to understand the 
problems and viewpoints of other children who were not entirely like 


From the first it was decided that the School would not place . . . tuition 
grants on the competitive basis. We felt sure that we did not want "to buy 
brains any more than we would want to buy brawn" for the School's glory. 
Many of the students who needed the School most and would benefit most 
by it were those who were doing badly in other schools because they were 
not understood. It was felt that if we could take these children into the 
School and bring out the best of their potentialities, we would be doing a far 
better thing for the cause of our School than if we offered scholarships 
merely to outstanding students who needed very little help. Of course, we 
had to be sure that we could help the child in question, that there was 
material there that was worth educating, as one parent put it, and we had 
to avoid becoming a school principally for problem children; for that would 
not be living up to our principles of not being a school for one class of 
pupils. On the whole the results of our policy were startingly good. Many 
of our graduates of whom we are most proud, both because of their 
outstanding scholarship as well as their citizenship achievements in college, 
came from the ranks of those whose parents received tuition adjustments. I 
wish I could list the names of some of those who achieved the greatest 
distinction, but for obvious reasons the matter of tuition grants is always 
one which is kept entirely confidential. No one except the Scholarship 
Committee of the Board knows who receives such grants; not even the 
members of the faculty are told. 

There is one exception to this rule. That is the case of the Skokie 
Scholarships. These are two full-tuition scholarships that are awarded to 
students of the graduating class of Skokie School each year. The principal 
of Skokie School submits the names of those members of his graduating 
class who he feels would benefit by coming to our School and who, by their 
hard work and good citizenship, have shown themselves to be worthy of 
consideration for this honor. The executive committee of our faculty then 
selects the two members of this group who seem to them best fitted to join 
our school community. As this is an award of achievement and an honor, 
the names of these students are not kept confidential, although in their 
cases, too, their names are not publicly announced. They are treated like 
everyone else in the School who has done something of which to be proud. 

International Student Exchange 

At the end of the 1948-49 school year, the Board of Directors authorized an annual 

scholarship for a foreign student. George Hanford wrote about it in the June 1949 


The presence of a French girl in this year's senior class has been invaluable 
to her classmates in bringing them into a closer understanding of the 
French people. This fact, taken with the School's basic objective of training 
our boys and girls to be effective citizens of our democracy and of the 
world, has been the underlying factor in the Board of Directors' recent 
action in authorizing the annual award of a scholarship to a foreign student. 


This award comes also for the students as a natural outgrowth of the series 
of exchanges of letters and gifts which have taken place in the past between 
North Shore students and pupils in schools abroad. Through die 
organizations existing for die purpose of arranging international student 
exchanges, steps are now being taken to put the program into effect in the 
school starting next September. 

The Day Camp 

The Day Camp was not started for the purpose of increasing enrollment for the day 
school, but that was certainly a consideration in its continuation and expansion 
under Martin "Mac" McCarty [physical education, biology 1947-present]. Mac, 
who was hired to take the place of Doc Anderson during his 1947 sabbatical and 
was invited to stay on when Doc subsequently decided to retire in 1948, tells the 
story of the origin and development of the North Shore Summer Day Camp: 

The Summer Day Camp originated from the McKinney Play Clubs. Bert 
McKinney had operated boys' day camps in the Chicago area since the late 
1920s, but his big operation ceased early in the 1930s because of the 
Depression. He finally settled in the North Shore area, mostiy Winnetka, 
where the parents could afford to pay for summer camping. His center of 
operation was at Skokie playfield, and he used the beach area north of the 
Tower Road beach for swimming. When I first began to work in his day 
camp, he operated four Ford station wagons for about forty half-day 
morning children and forty half-day afternoon children. 

In the summer of 1948 Mr. McKinney hired me to rim his camp in 
Winnetka. There were three other counselors besides myself. Two of them 
were just seventeen years old. The camp was in session six days a week 
and ran for ten straight weeks. It was my first summer in Winnetka, and I 
noticed that the facilities at Country Day were not being used. The only 
people who remained on the campus were Jean Talley, the maintenance 
crew (all three of them) and the headmaster's secretary. I moved the 
McKinney Camp from Skokie playfield to the North Shore campus. No one 
seemed to mind, and over the summer the McKinney Camp almost doubled 
in enrollment. That summer taught me much about how to operate a day 
camp in the Winnetka area, and I got the idea of starting a camp for 
the School. 

The next summer we began The North Shore Country Day Camp. Mr. 
McKinney continued to enroll campers and used the school grounds for the 
McKinney Club Camp. He did not enroll girls, however, so we began a 
camp for about fifteen little girls. Jan Klug was their counselor, and they 
used the lower school music room. The School owned one transportation 
vehicle — a DeSoto limo — and we used it to transport the girls. I was to 
direct both the McKinney Play Club and the School's camp. 


The next year we increased the size of the camp. We had approximately 
thirty boys and thirty girls, and the School bought another DeSoto limo. 

Mr. McKinney was listed as the camp's manager, but all he ever did was 
enroll children for both his camp and the School's. He spent the summer at 
his boarding camp in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin. The School paid him 
for enrolling its campers, and he had to pay the School for the use of the 
school's facilities. I directed the total operation. 

As the years went by we increased the camp enrollment until the combined 
enrollment of both camps was over four hundred children. It was at this 
time that the Day School recognized they would have to seek students from 
a much greater distance and began to purchase more vehicles, not school 
buses originally but vehicles that could be driven by people under twenty- 
one years of age. We were helped to build up our bus fleet when a parent 
who owned some bus companies gave us two big pusher buses from the 
streets of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We converted them for day camp use and 
also to transport the School's students. There were very few school bus 
rules at that time, and we did not see many or have any yellow school 
buses. The state took charge gradually until now we have more than ten 
school buses of school bus yellow that have to be driven by certified bus 

The arrangement with Mr. McKinney went along for many years. He 
enrolled the children for both camps, and I directed them. My helpmate 
was my wife Evelyn, who did all the secretarial work and manned the 
camp phone. It should go on record that Mrs. McCarty was a volunteer 
helper and was never paid for the service she performed. Up until 1983 we 
did no t have radios in the buses, so handling transportation was a difficult 
task. If a bus was stalled or a child missing, we had to try to solve the 
problem by using the single telephone — a very tedious task. 

The two most difficult problems in running a day camp are the 
transportation and the swimming. When we first started out, we used the 
beach north of Tower Road and occasionally someone would allow us to 
use his home pool for a day or so. Lake Michigan is too cold to swim in for 
most of the summer so we had to find another solution. It was in the early 
1950s that the above-ground pools were being developed. We started with 
one that was about fifteen feet in diameter and two-and-a-half feet deep. 
Fortunately, we did not have the large numbers of campers that we have 
today. The big problems with that kind of a pool are finding a concrete or 
blacktop surface to place it on, devising ladders to get into and out of it, and 
keeping the water sanitary. We finally ended up with five above-ground 
pools of varied heights to take care of all sizes of children. I tried assigning 
the job of keeping them clean with the proper chemicals to avoid spreading 
diseases and to be acceptable by health authorities. It never worked out, 
and I always ended up doing the cleaning and administering the chemicals 
myself. That situation continues to exist today in the late 1980s. 


We used the above-ground pools for over thirty years with no more 
complaints from parents than we get today with our modem in-ground 
pool. Our one outdoor pool is not adequate for the number of campers that 
we have enrolled so we rent swimming time from Loyola Academy and 
take the older and better swimmers over there for lessons and recreation. 

When the camp was first started, I could supervise both the girls' and the 
boys' divisions, but as we grew larger I needed someone to direct the girls 
while I kept my eye mostly on the boys. We hired Margaret "Muffy" 

Blelock as our first girls' director in the early 1950s. Muffy had operated her 
own child care program in Winnetka for many years and she was an expert 
on handicraft and swimming, the two activities that received the greatest 
emphasis at that time. (Today, girls do less handicraft, and there is much 
greater emphasis on sports.) Mrs. Blelock also was the lead teacher for The 
North Shore Country Day School kindergarten from 1953-60. 

Karen Budney, one of North Shore's physical education teachers and 
coaches, became the girls' director for the next two years. One of her 
assistants was Carol Warkentien who took over when Karen left after the 
summer of 1977. Mrs. Warkentien was the director of lower and middle 
school music from 1974 until 1978. She left full-time teaching to give birth 
to her children but continued to direct the girls' camp until her family 
moved from the area in 1985. 

As the years went by, it became evident that the service that Mr. McKinney 
performed — enrolling the campers — might be handled more efficiently 
by one of the School's staff. One year, during the enrollment time, Mr. 
McKinney became ill, and I had to do the enrolling in his place. I 
discovered that I could do it during evenings and weekends, and it did not 
infringe on the work time that I had to put in on my regular job at School. 

The Board of Directors came to the conclusion that they should buy the 
McKinney Play Club name from Mr. McKinney, and then the total 
operation would belong to The North Shore Country Day School. 

In the late 1980s the summer camp was a strong program, the enrollment over 600 
children. Mac McCarty has continued as enrollment director. Jay Bach, who joined 
the physical education department in 1965, became director of the camp in 1979. 
Over the years the day camp has not only provided a positive camp experience for 
hundreds of youngsters on the North Shore, but it has also brought dozens of new 
students to the School. 

Middle School 

By 1940 the middle school — sixth, seventh and eighth grades — had established a 
distinct identity. A one-page description and curriculum was printed and 
circulated by the School to prospective parents of the forties, featuring 
departmentalized academic work; modem language electives in all three years — 


French or German; Shakespeare, Bible and grammar taught in the eighth grade; 
required athletics every day; required art, shop, music, and drama at least twice 
each week all three years; the study of English, history and mathematics daily and 
physical and natural sciences at least twice each week. 

With the beginning of the boarding department at Leicester Hall, the middle school 
was moved from Leicester to Eliot Hall, where it remained until the new middle 
school building was constructed in the mid-fifties. 

Several teachers left their mark on the middle school: Virginia Ingram, who came 
to North Shore in 1930 and left in 1933 only to return in 1943 and remain until 1972, 
teaching math and science for thirty-three years. Her other claim to fame was her 
skill as an accomplished golfer. In 1942 she won the State of Illinois golf title. 

Nathaniel French came to the School in 1938 to teach middle school social studies. 
He was head of the Middle School from 1942 until 1946, when he moved to the 
upper school to teach history and become Dean of Faculty. In 1954 he became 
headmaster. Timothy Rhodes joined the middle school faculty in 1945 to teach 
English, social studies and science and in 1947 became head of the Middle School. 

William Steel, a graduate of The Francis W. Parker School, became a member of the 
middle school faculty in 1947, teaching English, social studies and math. An 
alumnus of the Graduate Teachers College of Winnetka, his dynamic teaching style 
made him unforgettable to the youngsters who passed through the middle school 
from 1947 until 1963. In 1949 another graduate of the Winnetka Teachers College 
joined the middle school as a teacher of math and English, George Eldredge, also a 
graduate of North Shore in the class of 1941. In 1957 Eldredge became head of the 
lower school and middle school, and from 1969-73 he was the third headmaster. 

The middle school too had its war effort in the form of a second-hand store. A 
notice appeared in the March 1943 Note s: 

With a growing list of OPA and WPB rulings it becomes imperative to use 
to the fullest extent each article of clothing and play equipment. If we can 
develop an efficient method for getting outgrown things into the hands, or 
onto the backs, of smaller children we will be doing a service to the children 
and to the country. Since mothers normally are the ones who buy these for 
the family, we hope they will make suggestions as to how these trades may 
be handled or what particular articles they would like to buy or sell. 

Advice may be sent by note to the Eighth Grade Store or telephoned to the 
School office. 

With the second semester of 1949, a Fix-it Group was formed in the middle school 
and announced in the February 1949 Notes: 

The middle school has a new activity group this year. It is called the Fix-it 
Group, and consists of five boys who can be counted on to do good 
workmanship without constant supervision. At first the group, with its 


faculty advisor, thoroughly examined the middle school building, making a 
list of all the things that needed repair. An imposing list of improvements 
has been made. A partial list includes putting all wooden lockers in perfect 
working condition, fixing the flagstand, making a volleyball court, repairing 
leaking faucets. The boys are to be congratulated for their useful efforts. 

During spring break that year some of the seventh and eighth graders took a trip to 
Washington, D.C. with William Steel. Making the journey by train, they were 
accompanied by Virginia Deane '41, an upper school teacher, and by a school 

Child Study Group 

During the 1940s, Gladys Adshead (lower school head 1943-49) led a child study 
group composed of parents who met regularly to discuss issues related to child 
development and family life. Adshead was born in England and educated at the 
Froebel Educational Institute in London. Before coming to North Shore, she taught 
at Beaver Country Day School in Boston and then became head of the primary 
grades at Buckingham School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After leaving North 
Shore she became headmistress of the Charles River School in Dover, 
Massachusetts. The study group, an outgrowth of Adshead's interest in child 
development, at one point joined with Christ Church of Winnetka in supporting a 
lecture series on family life. 

North Shore Broadcasts 

Under the new drama and upper school English teacher John C. Marsh (1947-54), 
students from North Shore upper school agreed "to put on a series of four radio 
broadcasts over station WEAW, the FM station in Evanston." Marsh described 
what happened in the March 1948 Notes: 

A student committee from the high school is writing the script of the initial 
program, which will be student-directed and student-acted. 

The first broadcast will be in the nature of a general introduction to the 
School. The fifth grade will describe the Time Chart it is making in class. 

The middle school has several stories to tell: publicity for their store, drama 
club, and science experiments. The high school section of the program will 
be devoted to various class projects and some discussion of "The Mikado." 

These programs will be a new experience for the students participating, and 
we shall be eager for support, comments and suggestions from the parents 
and friends of the School who hear the broadcasts. 


New Courses and Foreign Students 

A sign of the times in the late 1940s was the increasing use of automobiles. Don 
Palmer '48 remembered that during the war years 

. . . nobody drove because there was no gas. We had a 1941 Olds but no gas. 
We used to hitchhike to school. It got to the point where my mother used to 
say, "If we have to drive, forget it." 

But when the war was over and automobiles went back into production, traffic 
problems increased immeasurably. An article in the February 1949 Notes 
described the problem of the high accident rate among teenage drivers. A few 
schools began introducing safety courses in the late thirties, and by the mid-forties 
such courses had become widespread. By the 1948-49 academic year. North Shore 
added a safety course to the curriculum: the sophomore boys in the fall term, the 
sophomore girls in the spring. Will Talley [science 1943-72] was the instructor. 

The course, however, did not long remain. The faculty felt there were 
opportunities to get it elsewhere rather than take time from an already tight 
academic schedule. 

An article appeared in the October 1949 Notes describing other new courses and the 
foreign student program: 

. . . We are again offering the students in the upper school the chance to 
learn the use of the typewriter. . . For a college student the ability to type 
may well be of major importance. 

For some years the School has been proud of its success in passing on to its 
students the ethical standards of the Judeo-Christian tradition. As a further 
effort in this field we are now experimenting with a course in the eleventh 
grade designed to assure an appreciation of Bible literature. The class will 
study the stories, the personalities, and the ideas of the old and new 
testaments. Needless to say, this is not a course in religion, and will not be 
concerned with interpretations of a sectarian nature. We plan to ask 
ministers from many religious faiths to assist in presenting the course to the 
children. We have leaned heavily on the experience and advice of Mr. 

James MacColl, Associate Rector of Christ Church, who is both a parent in 
our School and a recently elected member of the Board of Directors. He has 
given very generously of his time and will do much of die teaching at first. 

It has been gratifying to see the amount of interest in the course which has 
been shown by the boys and girls of the eleventh grade who have elected it. 

The School has participated in the program maintained by the American 
Friends Service Committee and the American Field Service to bring foreign 
students to America. We have welcomed to our Boarding Department a 
French student from a school near Le Havre with which we have been in 
close communication for several years and to which we have sent Christmas 
packages and various other supplies. The young French boy's name is 


Michel Pigeyre; he is a member of our senior class and will be here for the 
entire year, after which he will return to France to carry on his work at the 
college level. After our experience with Annick de Marion who was in our 
senior class last year, we are delighted to continue the practice of having a 
French student in our senior class. Michel is already finding friends among 
his classmates and several Winnetka families have opened their homes 
most hospitably to him on the weekends. I hope that as in the case of 
Annick, the experience will bring about greater international understanding 
for our boys and girls and for Michel. 

Morning Exercise 

Concern with world issues continued to provide topics for Morning Exercise 
throughout the 1940s. Clifton Utley, the well-know news analyst and radio (and 
later, television) commentator, gave frequent addresses on current affairs. In 
December of 1942 there were two presentations by an unidentified speaker on 
South America: the rise and fall of dictatorships and the development of 
democracy. A twenty-year-old Hungarian girl spoke "From Darkest Europe" in 
April 1943. 

The Parents' Association set up an educational series each year which included a 
monthly presentation, usually a lecture of substance, from 11:00 till 12:15. In 
March 1942, Thomas Hart Benton, the famous American artist, spoke on American 
art. A Christian East Indian of Hindu background addressed the topic of 
"America's Moral Role" in 1943. A month later Wilfred Hansford Gallienne 
presented "Answering for England." William L. Darden spoke on "Alaska and the 
Highway" and Mbonu Ojike on "Africa Will Be at the Peace Table." In 1945-46 
Preston Bradley spoke on "The Festival of the Hearth." Bennet Cerf presented 
"Trends in American Humor" in October of 1949 and Orville Prescott, daily book 
critic for The New York Times, talked in March of 1950 about what are good books 
and why. 

The Langston Hughes Affair 

It was the Educational Series with its Morning Ex selections for early 1948, how- 
ever, which precipitated a crisis from which Perry Dunlap Smith never fully 
recovered. On February 16, 1948, S.I. Hayakawa spoke on "Why We Don't Behave 
Like Human Beings," and Langston Hughes was scheduled to read his poetry on 
Monday, March 15, the Ides of March. 

Gordon Browne [middle school math and English, 1945-52] was here at the time 
and remembered: 

. . . what must have been the most shameful episode in the School's history, 
the cancellation of a poetry reading by Langston Hughes during the 


McCarthyite era. The Chicago Tribune and American Legion were hounding 
him as un-American, and they spread an article across the front page that 
he was to speak in Winnetka. Tremendous pressure was brought on the 
School to withdraw its invitation to him. In a dramatic special faculty 
meeting, the faculty voted unanimously that the invitation should stand. 
Then with reporters posted outside their meeting, the Board overruled the 
faculty and withdrew the invitation. Perry Smith went into seclusion for a 
week, trying to decide whether to resign from his beloved School. Others 
agonized over the same decision. Ultimately no one resigned, but for many 
of us, especially us young believers in what Perry Smith had shown us 
about our profession, Paradise was indeed lost, never fully to be regained. 

Perry Smith spoke for himself in the April 1948 Notes: 

The School has just passed through a dangerous and difficult experience. It 
was a frightening bit of evidence of what Sinclair Lewis feared "could 
happen here" when he wrote his well-known book. As many of the parents 
of the School were able to know of it only through the highly emotional and 
distorted articles which appeared in the public press, I feel that they are 
entitled to an accurate account of what really happened and what seemed 
to be back of this sudden outburst. 

In the first place, let me thank most earnestly and gratefully all those friends 
of the School who, although they knew only the story as it was printed, yet 
had faith enough in the School to realize that newspaper accounts are often 
inaccurate and that we could not be either as gullible or as unintelligent and 
disloyal as we had been painted. It was most comforting and heartening to 
receive the scores of encouraging and friendly letters that have come in from 
those who know the School and commended its action, while only two 
seemed to have been caught in the hue and cry and joined the pack at our 
heels. There were many hysterical letters, of course, from those who did 
not know us (several were anonymous), threatening dire consequences to 
us on only the evidence of what they saw in the papers. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the whole experience was that never 
was Langston Hughes specifically called either a Communist or an atheist; 
in fact, the reporter who wrote the principal stories started out his interview 
by stating to me that he wanted it clearly understood that his paper had 
looked up Mr. Hughes's record carefully and definitely decided that he was 
not a Communist, and that, although his name had been brought up before 
the Un-American Activities Committee in Washington, the Committee had 
never called him to testify before them. 

What, then were the facts of the case? They are as follows: When the list of 
lecturers for the Educational Series was under consideration last spring, we 
decided to try to get an American poet to share his poems with our children. 
Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost were both considered but proved to be 
unavailable, so the suggestion was made that we invite Langston Hughes, 


who had been lecturing with unusual success for ten years and who was 
especially good with little children, telling them stories of Negro family life 
as well as reading his poems. He had been enthusiastically received by 
schools like ours in the Chicago area and across the country, and by 
neighboring suburban high schools. There was no evidence of any 
subversive influence; the poems he had written and published were 
certainly not subversive, and the group of poems he had published called 
Feet O' Jesus were most reverent. His statement of his ideals for American 
Democracy as printed in Edwin Embree's book, 13 Against the Odds, was 
eloquent and uplifting in its faith and hope for the American Democratic 
tradition. He had won a Guggenheim [Fellowship] and several other 
national awards. There seemed to be no reason to question his desirability 
as a lecturer on our program, and as the date we had open came shortly 
after Brotherhood Week, it seemed singularly appropriate to schedule him 
at that time. 

If we had investigated Langston Hughes more fully at the time of engaging 
him to lecture, it would have been hard to find any evidence of a dangerous 
leftist sympathy, except for a reference to him in the record of the Un- 
American Activities Committee in Washington, where his name had been 
brought up several years ago, together with many others (including 
President William Allan Neilson of Smith College and Professor Reinhold 
Niebuhr [protestant theologian]). Since that Committee, after hearing the 
accusation, had not called him before them, this did not seem to be 
condemning information. 

Where then did the poem, which seemed shocking and extreme to us all 
when we read it in the Tribune, come from? It does not appear in any 
published collection of Hughes' poems; in fact, it is hard to find in print. It 
was written while he was still in college, and he himself declares, in an 
article published this January in the Negro Digest, that he considers it a 
failure. He had intended it as irony, an attempt to shock us out of a 
smugness which allows us to claim to love our neighbors but finds us 
unwilling to put this principle into practice. Be that as it may, these stanzas, 
taken out of their context, were violent in the impression created. By 
printing these lines, and by implying that they were characteristic of the 
poems which Langston Hughes would read at the School, the papers 
destroyed any possible benefit which might have been derived from his 
visit. Hence, the Board of Directors wisely decided to withdraw the lecture. 

To my mind, however, the really significant element in the incident was the 
readiness with which our cherished principles of political and academic 
freedom may be lost sight of. We are faced by complex and threatening 
potentialities in the international situation today. It is easy for each of us to 
translate our anxiety and bewilderment into panic, to suppress on slight 
provocation the very freedoms we are all so eager to defend and preserve, 
and to indulge ourselves in witch-hunting and hysteria. 


Such unreasoning fears have been effectively utilized by Soviet leaders in 
paving the way for the establishment of police states. It is a pattern 
followed by fascists and communists alike, by Hitler in Germany, by Tito in 
Jugoslavia, by Franco in Spain and by Gottwald in Czechoslovakia. The 
voice of freedom is first silenced by creating hysterical fear and intolerance, 
then the subversive group casts suspicion on the independent thinkers — 
the artists, the poets, the scientists, and the school teachers; and, finally, the 
false leaders induce their countrymen to actions which strip them of a free 
press, free speech, academic freedom and the right to freedom of 
conscience. We in America must not be lured into playing their game. 

In times like these we must guard our country against both Communism 
and Fascism, the extreme left and the extreme rigjit, both of which lead to 
dictatorships. It would be poor economy, indeed, to save the country from 
one at the expense of forcing it into the hands of the other. At such a time, 
too, the importance of independent schools in a democracy seems greater 
than ever, and we in these schools must be sure to live up to our trust. I 
believe that our Board of Directors did so when they considered as carefully 
and calmly and fairly as anyone could under the circumstances the best 
decision to make in the face of such intense and confused pressure. Their 
public statement reprinted below clearly defines our position. We intend to 
hew strictly to that line in defense of principles of our Constitution and 
particularly that part known as the Bill of Rights. 

A formal statement was issued by the Board of Directors on March 2, 1948: 

The Board of Directors of The North Shore Country Day School has 
announced that the engagement by the School of Langston Hughes to give a 
reading of his poetry at the School in furtherance of Brotherhood Week has 
been regretfully cancelled. The School is opposed in principle to any theory 
that alleged political views of an individual should be the occasion for 
suppression of his usefulness as an artist and considers it detrimental to the 
cause of education that recent public expressions have produced an 
atmosphere destructive of the benefits to the children of the proposed 
reading. Particularly does this seem unfortunate in view of the recent 
successful recitations by Mr. Hughes at other schools in the Chicago area. 

So the decade of the forties closed. How ironic that a school created to promote 
and protect democratic values should be caught in such hysteria. Everything Perry 
Dunlap Smith had stood for both publicly and privately — freedom, democracy, 
brotherhood — was challenged by this experience. In the mind of Perry Smith, his 
School was to do its educational duty on tire side of democracy and freedom, in a 
war against dictatorship, intolerance and slavery. That battle was ostensibly won, 
and his vision moved on to the needs of those in Europe who suffered from the 
devastation of the fight. Meanwhile, at home, at The North Shore Country Day 
School, Smith's ideals were compromised by the handling of the Langston Hughes 
affair and democracy was the loser. Like Hitler in the Reichstag fire trial, the 
Chicago Tribune had succeeded in using the spectre of communism in order to 
suppress dissent. 


THE FIFTIES: Time of Transition 

At The North Shore Country Day School, the twenties and thirties saw the year-by- 
year creation of a notable educational community, formed in large part by the 
imagination, character and ideals of Perry Dunlap Smith. The forties were dark- 
ened by global war and by hunger and destruction in the early days of the peace. 
The fifties also had a central theme: this was the decade when, after thirty-five 
years as headmaster, Perry Smith resigned, leaving his life's work to be nurtured 
by other hands and other minds. 

In three and a half decades Perry Smith had created a school that was nationally 
recognized as a leader in the progressive education movement. He himself was 
acknowledged as a figure of authority within education circles. He was elected in 
1927 as a member of The Headmasters Association of America, an honor granted in 
recognition of his significant contribution to secondaiy education. From 1933 to 
1936 he served on the executive committee of the Association, and in 1944 he was 
elected president. He was a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard 
University from 1940-46, a director of the Institute of Psychoanalysis and a trustee 
of The Francis W. Parker School of Chicago. In 1939 he received an honorary 
Doctor of Literature degree from Colgate University. 

The story of his school in the fifties falls into two parts: first, a summing up of 
"The state of the School" during Perry Smith's final years in office; second, the 
new values and concerns his successor added to an already rich educational 

Questions and Answers of the Times 

The curriculum of the School combines the best features of progressive 
education and traditional preparatory methods. Against a background of 
the most modem teaching. . . , progress in the "3R's" is measured by periodic 
standardized tests. Throughout the School special emphasis is placed on 
the development of reading skills. 

The brochure "announcing the season of 1949-50" was once again using the term 
"progressive" but coupled with the word "traditional." However, many courses, 
considered merely optional in other schools, were required at North Shore. 

A paragraph was devoted to "discipline," perhaps to give balance to the use of the 
word "progressive." Discipline did not mean regimentation or unquestioning 
obedience but rather a moral and social attitude that is indispensable to the life of a 
family or a community. 

The question raised by prospective parents and students in the forties and fifties 
was whether this community was socially "exclusive" (the term used during the 
forties) or "snobbish" (the fifties term). The 1945 pamphlet stated that: 


. . . some of the most outstanding students at North Shore — scholastically 
and from the standpoint of popularity — come from very modest homes. . . 

The School grants over $20,000 annually in scholarships. 

With regard to whether the School was snobbish in the 1949-50 brochure, the 
response was: 

It is not. In the first place, the School through its admissions and 
scholarship policies strives to maintain within its student body a cross 
section of the north shore communities which it serves. In the second place, 
we feel that there is a minimum chance for snobbishness in a school where 
all students are members of a big family. No one can get lost in the crowd. 

The school's size also minimizes the formation of cliques. 

At various times in the history of the School there were rumors about what types of 
students would be admitted. One rumor had it that only youngsters with an IQ of 
130 or above would be considered or that the child must be an outstanding student 
in order to seek admission. Perry Smith addressed the question of admissions in 
the February 1950 Notes : 

The School . . . has never been willing to concentrate only on brilliant pupils, 
nor has it ever allowed itself to be a haven for problem cases. We have 
tried, and are continuing to try, to help to develop to their full extent the 
boys and girls who come to us from families who know us, believe in and 
share our ideals and philosophy, and are willing to help us work towards 
their realization. As the Board of Directors phrased it in the first decade of 
the School and as is still true, the decision to accept or reject any given 
applicant is based on the following two considerations: First, does this 
particular boy or girl need our unique and distinctive type of school? and, 
second, does the grade group which this student would join need this 
particular type of boy or girl, and will it be able to assimilate him or her to 
their mutual benefit? 

Under these considerations, it has not only been possible to take into the 
school pupils of great promise and with no apparent difficulties in the 
academic field, but also we may accept a student who has had or is having 
very considerable trouble academically or who is afflicted with a great 
physical handicap, such as deafness or blindness. . . 

Assuredly, we may well be proud of our success with certain children who 
later turned out to be among our most successful graduates, but who came 
to us with a record of having previously failed in several other schools. 
Actually, it would seem more accurate and fair to say that those schools had 
failed with them. In such cases it is always a great satisfaction to realize 
that we were able to succeed. I believe the other students perhaps as much 
as the teachers deserve the credit for such achievements, and the benefit to 
them is invariably correspondingly great. 


Will Talley [science 1943-72] remembered a troubled student he had and how he 
encouraged the boy's classmates to help him out: 

... I had a boy one time that was in constant difficulty with his classmates. 
He was just fighting back and forth with them all the time. One time, I sent 
him out of the room to get something — it was a put-up job. When he 
went, I said to the other kids, "I don't know what the trouble is, but I know 
he is not getting along with you. I don't know if it is your fault. But when 
you get through with this school, you are probably going to be good friends 
for life, and he is not going to have any. The only people that can correct 
that for him is you. If you can get him to go 25% of the way, and you have 
to go 75% of the way, you are the winners. I don't know how you are going 
to do it, but try it." In one week's time, those kids were all playing like 
fingers on the same hand. They just changed him right around. Some of 
the boys mentioned that to me later on. They thought that it was terrific 
that I had done that, and I thought it was terrific that they had done it. But 
I think that good teachers will do this whether they are teaching in 
Timbuktu, wherever it is. They might not have the time and setup to do it. 
We were encouraged in doing it here. 

Where Students Come From 

Where were students coming from at this point in the life of the School? The staff 

of The Purple and White were asking that question in 1951. Patricia Blunt Koldyke 

'54 attempted to find out: 

. . . the oldest record obtainable was that of the year 1939-40. As might be 
expected the majority of the enrollment are from Winnetka now, as they 
were then. One hundred fifty-eight in 1939 and 188 in 1951. [By 1984 that 
number was down to eighty-five.] The next highest number this year is the 
thirty-four who come from Highland Park, which is a good deal over the 
fifteen in 1939. [In 1984 the number was still thirty-four.] Strangely enough, 
twenty-four students now come out from Chicago every day, while before, 
because of transportation difficulties, there were only three. [There were 
twenty-six in 1984.] Next in line for 1951 comes Glencoe from which North 
Shore draws twenty-three students, but surprisingly enough in 1939, thirty- 
one came from there. [In 1984 it was seventeen.] This year Evanston and 
Wilmette are tied, each contributing seventeen to the total student body, but 
twelve years ago, Wilmette was dragging thirteen to seven. [In 1984 
Evanston was contributing fifty-nine students and Wilmette thirty-two.] 
Sixteen hail from Glenview as opposed to 1939's three. [And 1984's thirty- 
one.] In both years four pupils came from Kenilworth [and twenty-one in 
1984]. 1951 brings us three from Northfield while 1939 could only manage 
one [and 1984 twenty-six]. Northbrook, however, ties with Northfield this 
year and they had no students in 1939 [twenty-nine in 1984]. Lake Forest 
gives us only two, but this is better than the one of the earlier year. 

[Compare this with four in 1984.] 


Remember, there were no on-campus boarding facilities prior to the forties. 
Thanks to Leicester Hall and to better roads, North Shore in 1951 had one student 
from each of the following: Libertyville [none in 1984], Highwood [one in 1984], 
Norway, Minnesota, Indiana and New Jersey. 

By 1954 School opened with a sixteen percent increase in enrollment. The April 
1955 Notes discussed the encouraging trend: 

The final size of the School is set by its plant which was carefully designed 
to allow for grades of approximately twenty throughout the lower school, 
groups of thirty in each of the three middle school grades, and groups of 
forty in each of the four upper school grades. As we grow toward this size 
it is important that we continue to get from parents that support which 
made possible our growth of this last year. Certainly we should have a 
selective admissions policy, and this can only be true so long as parents 
continue to urge on their friends' and neighbors' consideration of Country 
Day as an opportunity for their children which they cannot afford to 

In 1950 the Board of Directors published a bulletin on the Scholarship Fund listing 
four reasons why it should be supported: 

1. To help foster and maintain the democratic spirit of the School. 

2. To allow certain worthy children to enroll who would otherwise be 
financially unable to attend the School. 

3. To make certain that no child will be deprived of the opportunity to 
graduate with his class for financial reasons. 

4. To continue to attract and maintain a strong Faculty. 

Perry Smith often wrote of his resistance to the growing standardization and 
collectivization of education during the 1940s and 1950s. He especially regretted 
the segregation of age groups and the rigid regulation of curricula in die 
expanding public schools. In the May 1952 Notes he expressed his distress: 

"Standard" textbooks have been adopted for die schools of an entire state. 

This inevitably means the teachers will teach them uncritically except in 
very few cases, for this kind of standard efficiency nearly always results in 
daining the teachers to think in a standardized fashion. . . 

The loss in large numbers of our future citizens of the ability to think for 
themselves, to form convictions based on critical thinking and evaluation, 
and to have the courage to stick to these convictions even in the face of the 
more popular mass thinking is a serious mader in a democracy. . . 


But even more important than this is our emphasis on the fact that 
individual freedom without responsibility for the welfare of others is not 
freedom but license. In order to be free oneself, one must respect the rights 
of others and recognize the fact that the answer to Cain's ancient and 
pertinent question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" is "Yes!" This we try both 
to teach and practice. 

Global Events in the 1950s 

Once again war threatened the students' sense of security. The Korean conflict 
began the summer of 1950. During the Christmas holidays of 1950-51, older 
brothers and friends who return home for vacation from college brought with them 
the sense of threat of the draft. Smith recognized the kind of panic that can set in 
under conditions like this and tried to provide some perspective in his February 
1951 Notes essay: 

. . . [There is a] sobering effect upon both our young men and young women 
of the chaotic and threatening international crisis and the Damoclean 
prospect of being drafted. This was vividly brought home to our high 
school boys by association with their older brothers and friends who were 
home from colleges, where it is clear that the question of service with the 
armed forces dominates most conversation and discussion in all phases of 
their lives. . . 

Parents, hearing rumors that the government may defer the active service 
of those who stand in the upper portions of their class in college, begin as 
low as the primary grades to worry about a child's rank in his class and 
propose to tutor and drill him both in school and during vacations, in the 
hope that he will achieve better marks than all the others. This . . . could 
become a dangerous trend. 

To those parents caught between their anxiety for their sons in the face of the draft 
and their concern for high-level academic achievement, a relatively new program 
was especially appealing. 

The Reading Program 

The 1950 brochure gave special emphasis to the development of reading skills. A 
faculty member with a keen interest in reading was Gordon Browne [1945-52], who 
taught middle school English and math until the fall of 1951 when he moved to the 
upper school English department while Cleveland Thomas [English, 1944-56] 
completed his doctoral courses at Northwestern University. During that year 
Browne developed a speed and comprehension reading program for the juniors, 
which he described in the February 1952 Notes: 


This course is built around films and printed materials developed at 
Harvard College for use with their freshmen. The course has been given at 
North Shore to three groups during the fall semester. There have been two 
evening adult groups, and all the seniors have taken it. 

A light-hearted description of the seniors' experience with the reading program 
during the first semester of that year was written by Suzie Martin '52 for the 
February 13, 1952 issue of The Purple and White: 

Every Thursday morning during the first semester, thirty-one gleeful 
seniors and Mr. Browne met in the auditorium for a scintillating double 
period. Seriously, what was done was for the most part very interesting. 
First, we saw a film. The film was like a page of a book. Each group of 
words in a line was lit up and that is what you read. This lighting up of 
groups of words was set at a certain speed. Only what was lit up could be 
read. Therefore there was no chance of going back to find out something 
you missed. After the film we took a comprehension check. The subject 
matter of these films was usually very interesting and occasionally even 
amusing. For instance, we saw films on Kon Tiki, the seal Eskimos, and all 
about how our society and family resembles that of orangutans, gibbons, 
apes and baboons. After taking the comprehension checks on the film, we 
did a selection from a fat yellow book. This consisted of educational 
treatises on various subjects such as humor, truth, the emergence of the 
masses and the like. We read the selections, found out our speed, took a 
comprehension check on what we read and then scored it. Then there was 
a second showing of the film at a faster rate and another selection from the 
fat yellow book — 

Incidentally, among the materials we have for the course there was a 
wonderful little book called 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary. From 
personal experience I highly recommend it, and I advise all that the best 
place to study it is in the bath tub. 

At the close of the 1952 school year, Gordon Browne left to author a book. The 
reading program was picked up by Gerald Ostrom (1952-67) who was trained in 
the Gillingham method. Unlike Browne's program in the upper school, Ostrom 
focused more on remedial reading and testing. 

The New Minor System 

In addition to the major academic courses, the School had always put emphasis on 
experiences in the arts. The perennial problem, however, was devising a schedule 
to accommodate all of the courses considered valuable for educating the whole 
child. In the fall of 1952 the faculty initiated the system of minor subjects for the 
upper school students as described in the November 1952 Notes : 


The new system . . . concerns music, art, shop, mechanical drawing and 
sewing. Heretofore, these courses have been written into the schedules of 
students according to certain requirements. Those requirements have been 
changed, not in extent, but in form. Whereas these courses formerly met 
for one period per week for a semester, they now meet twice a week for a 
quarter. The purpose behind this change is to concentrate the course over a 
shorter period of time 

. . . [T]he new system retains the rigidity of requiring some work in these 
fields of all students, but adds the flexibility of permitting students added 
experience in fields of their own interest. It encourages them to accept more 
responsibility for their own education 

Eighth Grade Curriculum 

There were exciting developments in the eighth grade social studies curriculum 
under William Steel (1947-63). He set up a course which explored the privileges 
and duties of good citizenship. The vital issues of 1953 were international 
relations, interpersonal relations, labor-management problems and problems 
arising between minority groups living together. The underlying purpose of the 
course was to teach the students analytical thinking. Rather than textbooks, the 
course was based on movies and propaganda of all kinds but also, and most 
especially, the daily newspaper. 

Steel himself was an alumnus of The Francis W. Parker School and the Graduate 
Teachers College of Winnetka. As such, he was thoroughly imbued with the 
philosophy of progressive education and appreciated the value of learning by 
experience. His teaching style is a vivid memory to Suzy Brew Schreiber '58. A 
lesson on anarchy, for instance, in her middle school social studies class involved 
tying up the teachers, putting them on the third floor of Eliot Hall (the old middle 
school) and then trying to carry on alone for the rest of the day. Virginia Ingram 
[middle school math and science 1943-72] didn't go for the idea at all. She kept her 
children in the sixth grade room that day and would have nothing to do with the 
anarchy. The anarchy lesson, however, was not forgotten by the student 
participants. Youngsters could not move through Steel's classes without having a 
provocative experience. 

Other memories of eighth grade in 1953-54 included taking three foreign languages 
— French, Latin and German — one to a trimester. One advantage of this system 
for Dr. Karla Landau [German 1930-64] was that it gave her the opportunity to 
select the students she would allow into her freshman German course the 
following year. Eighth grade courses also included one in Shakespeare taught by 
Perry Dunlap Smith. He chose to teach Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet that year. 


Building a Boat 

Building a sailboat was the special extracurricular project for late winter and spring 
of 1954. Five male faculty members — Nat French, David Howe, William Steel, 
Will Talley and Ernst Benkert '46 [art 1953-55] — and nine students worked 
together on it. Nat French, who had spent twenty summers at his mother's camp 
for boys in Maine and had a passion for boats and for sailing, led the nautical team. 

Eventually, the group built two more boats and competed in matches in the Skokie 
Lagoons. All three boats were in the Penguin class and were later used by the day 
camp in the summer of 1965. 

Field Trips 

The fifties opened up a number of travel experiences for the students. During the 
summer of 1953, six students (all girls) — and twenty-four pieces of baggage — 
traveled to France by ship with Mme. Simone Valvo [French 1947-78]. The French 
customs man took one look at the twenty-four pieces of baggage and the anxious 
faces of the six girls and said, "How many beautiful daughters you have, 


In anticipation of the summer of 1954, Gerald Ostrom organized a "gypsy trip to 
Alaska" for thirty-five days for the upper school boys. This trip was more of an 
adventure than any of the participants ever intended. Mr. Ostrom hurt his back, 
and two of the boys had to carry him out of the wilderness. 

According to The Purple and White of September 18, 1957, "North Shore Students 
Invade Europe" with Dr. Karla Landau on the SS Empress of France during the 
summer that year. "The ship, as Charlie [Mortimer '58] predicted, was not in the 
category of the Queen Mary, but the company was excellent." 

Mme. Valvo and Doctor Landau took students on a number of trips in the 
following years, always a challenge to the teachers, as those who went with them 
may agree. 

The middle school was also making field trips: the eighth grade into Chicago to 
study the problems of city housing, the seventh grade to Milwaukee to visit Ampco 
Metal Products and the Florsheim Shoe factory, and the sixth grade to the water 
and electric plant of Winnetka. 

Lillian Griffin (1921-52) took her fifth graders to Springfield as part of their study 
of Illinois history. 


Music During the Fifties 

Spring brought its annual ritual, the opera. But the new decade also brought with 
it a new music director. Following the sudden death of Ramsay Duff in March of 
1949, the School was fortunate to obtain the services of Alice Parker for two years, 
from fall of 1949 through spring of 1951. Miss Parker was trained at Juilliard and 
held a teaching fellowship as assistant to Robert Shaw of The Robert Shaw Chorale. 
Under Parker the opera of 1950 was a double bill: Trial by Jury again and also an 
experimental piece for North Shore students, Down in the Valley, by Kurt Weil. 

The 1951 production was Patience. Parker then left North Shore and resumed 
advanced studies in composition in New York. Over thirty years later — in 1985 — 
the director of lower school music for North Shore will encounter Alice Parker at 
an Orff Association Convention, where Parker will be presenting sessions on 
choral music. 

A musical director by the name of Frank Patterson came in for one year and 
directed The Pirates of Penzance in collaboration with the director of drama, John 
Marsh [drama, English 1947-54]. It was during this season that a new system for 
producing the opera was set up. Committees were formed to deal with each aspect 
of the production under the supervision of selected faculty and student heads: 
scenic design under Marie Holland [upper school director of art 1947-52] and Ida 
Wied [science 1926-52] with Sue Goodman '52 as student head; scene building 
under Will Talley [science 1943-72] and Vincent Reidy [industrial arts, mainte- 
nance, print shop 1951-66] with Jim Loewenberg '52 as student assistant; costumes 
with Elsie Harridge [math, sewing, Latin, business office 1944-69] and Helena 
Lennards [Latin 1947-53] with Diana Patrick '53, Ellen Reeves '54 and Sylvia Hiller 
'54; the business aspects under Lewis Taylor [math 1925-64] and Gordon Browne 
[middle school, reading 1945-52] with Tim Clark '52 as student manager; publicity 
by George Hanford [School treasurer 1948-55] and Jean Talley [registrar 1939-82] 
with Steve Edwards '52 and Sue Martin '52 as co-heads; make-up with all the 
freshman girls under the direction of Dr. Karla Landau, Julia Gilbert [English 1928- 
52], and Joanne Kutten [math 1950-53]; and records and research under David 
Howe [English 1947-55] and Julia Gilbert with Bob Zimmermann '52 as student 
assistant. Everyone was involved in the production of the opera. 

In the autumn of 1952 a new music director joined the faculty of the School and 
thus began a new era for the music program. His name was Vincent Allison. A 
delightful profile of him was printed in the March 1959 Purple and White: 

Mr. Allison was bom in New Bedford, Mass., and went to the city high 
school there. It seems he has always been interested in some form of music, 
for he played the clarinet and bassoon in the school's orchestra and band. 
Inadvertently, he was also the R.O.T.C. major. 

Wesleyan University then claimed Mr. Allison after high school, and — 
here's a surprise — he majored in chemistry! The reason for this, he says, is 
that he had some doubts as to the good professional opportunities in music. 


and chemistry seemed "safer." Besides, being a good student, he was a 
member of Sigma Ti, vice-president of the student body and student 
director of the glee club. 

After this glorious college career, Mr. Allison was whisked off to the Army 
to become a second lieutenant in chemical warfare. One and a half years, a 
wife and two children later, he returned to civilian life and to Wesleyan to 
get his master's degree in chemistry. Shortly after obtaining this degree, 

Mr. Allison was offered a position as director of choral activities at 
Wesleyan and an opportunity to study music at Yale, where he obtained a 
bachelor's degree. Following this, he went to Harvard and there received 
his master's degree in music. In 1952 Mr. Allison became a member of 
North Shore's faculty and since then has graced our beautiful sixteen acres 
with his outstanding voice, superlative teaching and unsurpassed choral 

Vin Allison did continue to grace the North Shore campus with his presence for the 
next thirty-four years. He strongly believed that singing in the school chorus 
provided an essential discipline for adolescents. For many years students in The 
North Shore Country Day School were required — sometimes under protest — to 
sing in chorus twice a week. (Many people connected with the School felt that 
something was lost when that requirement was rescinded in 1987.) 

The high point of the opera during the decade of the fifties was the year that four 
of the five starters on the basketball team also had leads in the opera. The opera 
that year, 1956, was H.M.S. Pinafore. The Chicago Sun Times was so impressed that 
a reporter and photographer came out to the campus to capture the event. Two 
pictures appeared on the sports page of the March 12, 1956 issue: one shot of the 
boys practicing their songs in their basketball trunks, the other of the boys 
dribbling basketballs in their Pinafore costumes. The reporter recorded: 

At North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, four of the five starters on 
the varsity basketball team can and do whip through an aria or sink a left- 
handed hook shot with equal aplomb. 

"Yes, it's true," said Coach Martin McCarty, obviously pleased with his 
boys' cultural pursuits. 

In these days when most people think varsity athletes can do nothing more 
than gargle, nonstop, for three minutes in low C, North Shore's athletic 
heroes are the toast of the musical world. 

One boy, Paul Loomis ['56], a 6-4 center, and the team's leading scorer, won 
a contest for having the best male voice in the Chicago area. 

The contest was sponsored by Lyon and Healy and held last fall on the eve 
of the North Shore Country Day-Francis Parker football game for the 
Private League championship. 


Loomis, a lineman, was still in good voice the next day. He sang out the 
defensive signals as North Shore handed Francis Parker its first loss of the 
season and won the league championship. 

North Shore Country Day's other basketball players — forwards Charles 
Newman ['56] and Bob Schnering ['56] and guards Coleman Hutchins ['56] 
and Frank Lunding ['56] — also played on the Raiders' championship 
football team. 

Newman, Hutchins and Lunding perform with the school's opera 
troupe, too. 

In fact, the only non-singer among the basketball regulars is Schnering. 
However, Schnering takes an active part in the theatrical productions. He 
serves as the student co-ordinator, working behind the scenes and making 
certain that the right people are in the right place at the right time. 

"A very demanding job," said Coach McCarty, as he finished dressing and 
stood at the door in formal attire, a picture of uncompromising sartorial 

Where was he going? 

"To the opera, of course!" he said, waving a cane. 

Before we said good-night. Coach McCarty told about his boys and the fine 
North Shore basketball team. The Raiders won twenty-one of twenty-five 
games and also won the Private League tournament. 

In 1958 Vin Allison formed a North Shore orchestra in the upper school, fed 
primarily by students who had been trained in the lower and middle school 
orchestras under Theo Dos6 [music 1951-59]. Both orchestras performed for 
Morning Exes and attended various concerts in Chicago. 

The music program developed strength and a recognizable identity as Dose and 
Allison came to the end of the fifties. Unfortunately, Theo Dose died in November, 
1959. She was replaced by a temporary teacher, but it would be many years before 
another music teacher would work with the lower school on a long-term basis. 

Perry Dunlap Smith Retires 

When Perry Smith retired from the office of headmaster of The North Shore 
Country Day School in the spring of 1954, it was not surprising that the event was 
marked by Time magazine. The April 1954 issue called Smith an "Old-Fashioned 
Progressive" and had this to say: 


In the dining hall of Chicago's Francis W. Parker School one night last 
week, forty teachers and headmasters from private schools all over the city 
gathered for a dinner in honor of a distinguished colleague. After thirty- 
five years. Perry Dunlap Smith was retiring as headmaster of The North 
Shore Country Day School in Winnetka. For many a U.S. educator, the 
retirement was something of a milestone. A disciple of the late Colonel 
Parker, Headmaster Smith has spanned the whole history of the American 
progressive movement, and his own school has become one of the most 
famous of its kind in the U.S. But in an era plagued by so much educational 
flapdoodle, even conservative critics have had to admit that Smith 
represents progressivism at its best 

Last week at his banquet. Perry Smith delivered one final plea for the 
middle way of the "old-fashioned progressive." He denounced those who 
would sweep away all discipline and intellectual content from the school 
"Certainly the old-fashioned progressive never advocated any such thing". 
He also deplored those who insist that everything progressive is wrong. 

"As one great headmaster put it, 'You are neglecting to put the fear of God 
into [children].' Yes, perhaps so, but it is my belief that we put the love of 
God into children, and that is far better." 

Given the stature of Smith and of the School, finding a new headmaster was a 
particularly challenging task. A nationwide search was conducted, in spite of the 
fact that several members of the faculty were particularly well-suited for the 

A New Headmaster is Found 

Perry Smith wrote about the search and about the results in the April 1954 Notes: 

The Board is to be congratulated not only upon the wisdom of its decision 
but also upon the manner in which it reached that decision. No one could 
have been more conscientious, understanding and thorough. In the first 
place, it asked the faculty members to draw up an outline of the 
characteristics which they considered essential in a leader who could carry 
on the traditions and ideals of our School, many of which are distinctive 
with us. 

The faculty . . . delegated a small committee to put its ideas into appropriate 
words. This report . . . receiving the approval of the whole faculty, was 
submitted to the Board of Directors [which]. . . adopted it as a guide when 
interviewing candidates. 


In all, more than thirty-five individuals were carefully considered and 
studied. The search extended all the way from New England to California. 

. . . Several promising individuals were invited to visit the School to inspect 

us at work and at the same time to give the Board's committee an 
opportunity to interview them. 

One interesting result of these interviews was the opinion our visitors often 
expressed that we had so many members of our own faculty who were 
superior to anyone the visitors knew anywhere else, that it would seem 

unnecessary to look beyond our own group They earnestly advised us 

to look among those persons who had been trained in the traditions of the 
School and knew its unique distinctions and characteristics well 

It was, therefore, with the greatest joy and satisfaction that I learned of the 
Board's selection of Mr. [Nathaniel] French. He knows and is devoted to 
the ideals of our School about as well as anyone can be. Not only has he 
been a member of the staff since 1938, but he comes from a family which 
has been pioneers in this type of education since the turn of the century. 

His father, Mr. John French, was the headmaster of The Cambridge School 
near Boston. He was one of those who have lately come to be called "the 
Genuine Progressives," and fought the early battles in that field as one of 
our colleagues 

Mr. French attended Harvard for a year [Smith in this message does not 
mention that French contracted polio at the beginning of his second year at 
Harvard and spent a year recuperating.] and then transferred to Rollins 
College, the experimental college started by Hamilton Holt in Florida. He 
soon found himself in the midst of a student and faculty upheaval there 
which resulted in a large group of both bodies leaving and setting up a new 
college at Black Mountain in North Carolina, which is where Mr. French 
completed his undergraduate work. After college he accepted a post as a 
teacher-in-training at the Park School in Baltimore. This is another of the 
great schools that has done sound experimental work along the lines our 
School has also tried to follow. While there he did a little of almost 
everything and made such a reputation for himself that Mr. David Corkran, 
who was acting headmaster of our School while I was away in Europe on 
sabbatical leave, heard of him and induced him to come to us as a teacher in 
the middle school. 

His progress since then is known to most of you. He was soon made head 
of the middle school. Later he was given teaching assignments in the upper 
school where he made his course in United States History so stimulating 
and valuable that he was made the dean of boys. Shortly after that he 
displayed such leadership among his colleagues that he was chosen to be 
dean of the faculty, a post which he has held with distinction ever since. 
This year, after a sabbatical leave in England and Europe during which he 
studied and sometimes taught in some of the great schools there, he has 
been the head of our lower school. During the past ten years as a member 
of our faculty executive committee he not only became thoroughly familiar 
with the many administrative details and problems of the School but also 
showed himself to have such unusual ability to find solutions for them, that 


he clearly emerged in the end as the person to whom the others turned for 
both guidance and leadership in most emergencies. 

... I am confident that under Mr. French the future of the School is assured. 
May I again congratulate the Board on its very wise and fortunate selection. 

Perry Smith was bringing to a close his role as headmaster. As a person reaches 
the end, whether of a career or of a life, there is a psychological process — usually 
unconscious — of reviewing one's life, of trying to make sense of it, of finding 
meaning and validation in what one has done. Perry Smith did this in his final 
essay as headmaster in the June 1954 Notes. His title was very poignant: 

Our Hope is Great 

Any change involves risks, but most changes in well established institutions 
which have a clear and active philosophy or course by which to steer, are a 
part of that institution's growth and hence are for its good. Certainly this is 
true of the change in the administration of our School; it is very much a part 
of its continued growth and improvement, as has already been 
demonstrated in the short time since the change has been announced. 


A new and very actively healthy spirit has been generated both in the 
faculty and in the Parents' Association. There is on all sides distinct 
evidence of a keen sense of responsibility for the welfare of the School and 
its betterment. New ideas have appeared for improving ways of doing 
things which were tending to become crystallized. The faculty undertook a 
study and re-evaluation of its whole teaching philosophy and has carried it 
on vigorously for many months. New types of grade meetings of the 
parents, students and faculty, such as the parents' panels, have been 
evolved and very successfully carried out. These improvements will be 
continued in the years ahead, and the spirit which produced them will 
create others. In many ways the atmosphere and climate of the faculty and 
the Parents' Association is strongly reminiscent of the early days of the 
School when we were blazing new trails and were stimulated by a 
crusading ardor. 

Growing Respect 

The attitude of the community as a whole in respect to the School, as well as 
the respect of our individual parents for it, also seem to have undergone a 
marked change for the better. As long as ten years ago, when William Allen 
Neilson, the president of Smith College, referred to the School when 
addressing a meeting of the Associated Harvard Clubs in New York City as 
"one of the great schools of America," I was greatly surprised and, of course, 
pleased; but it seemed to me he was being over-generous. Today, after we 
have received during the past few months so many kind appraisals of the 


School from educational authorities and leaders, the community in general 
seems to have accepted the fact that President Neilson was both right and 
accurate in his statement. Perhaps we have built better than we know. At 
least, I hope so. 

Importance of the Parents 

On all sides this year we have received recognition for the distinctive 
relationship of the parents to the School. The faculty and homes have 
worked out an attitude of mutual respect and responsibility which I do not 
believe has been achieved to the same extent in any other school. . . 

Interage Interaction 

Another distinctive feature of the School is the cordial and sympathetic 
atmosphere that exists between the various ages of its pupils. There are 
many schools which have children of the same age spread as ours, but I 
know of very few others where the sense of responsibility for the welfare of 
all is felt by each age group so completely. One of the most important 
devices whereby this is brought about is the daily assembly and the spirit in 
which it is carried on 

Vision of Greatness 

Such things as "the habitual vision of greatness" which Alfred North 
Whitehead states as the necessity of all moral education, must never be lost 
sight of. The necessity of keeping "all the avenues to the soul open and in 
use" by not leaving such essentials of self-expression as art and music and 
drama and creative writing to chance or to the child's election, but rather 
seeing that all children are exposed to these experiences every year is 
another vital essence of the School's life. The emphasis on learning for its 
own sake and not through fear of punishment or hope of ulterior rewards 
must be maintained. The desire to be of use to one's fellows, which is 
instinctive in all of us, must be given every means of fulfillment, certainly 
far more than that other instinctive drive to excel, to surpass, to conquer our 
colleagues and companions. 

These are all values which seem to me to be at a very high point in the 
School today. I cannot remember a time when we had a stronger faculty 
and parent body in these respects. Nor can I recall a time when the student 
body seemed to have accepted them more completely. It is, therefore, with 
high hopes and complete confidence that I welcome the new administration, 
for it is rather a continuation of a growth process than a change that is to 
take place. The school will be, as before, in the hands of its parents, pupils 
and teachers, plus the added and growing interest of its alumni. Each of 
these four groups is dedicated to its interests and has a deep appreciation of 
its truest qualities. We have glimpsed the vision of what true greatness 
could be in a school, we must now press on to bring that vision to reality. 


As Socrates said many years ago, "Noble is the prize and our hope is great." 
I am sure it will be realized. 

The French Tenure 

The new headmaster faced a monumental challenge: he would be walking in the 
shadow of the extraordinary Perry Dunlap Smith! But, fortunately, Nathaniel 
French had a strong ego and a well-defined sense of his own educational 
philosophy, much in tune with that of Smith. His father was headmaster at The 
Cambridge School, a prominent progressive school in Massachusetts, from 1930 to 
1947. His mother ran a wilderness camp in Maine where Nat spent his summers 
both as child and adult. What better preparation could there be than what Mr. 
French had had to step into the headmaster's office of The North Shore Country 
Day School in 1954? 

What does one do first in such a role? French believed that it was important to 
build on the ideological heritage left by Perry Smith. He indicated in his first essay 
as headmaster in the October 1954 Notes that he was encouraged by the confidence 
of the community: eighty-two new families had put their children into the School 
for the first time in the face of an untried administration. He discussed the re- 
evaluation of the curriculum by the faculty. The math and reading programs were 
being examined at all levels. An experiment was started by the language 
department with lower school children to increase their potential for bilingual 
ability by graduation time from the upper school. The history department planned 
to expand opportunities for exploring current problems by inviting representatives 
from five Asian nations to the campus in November. French gave every indication 
that he intended to follow the progressive footsteps of his predecessor and mentor. 

Perhaps French's administrative style differed most from that of Smith in the 
degree of involvement in the financial affairs of the School. The story is that Perry 
Smith used to depart from the Board meetings after the education report, leaving 
the financial matters to the Board to handle. When Virginia Deane [English, 
history 1946-69] was asked about this, she responded, 

I don't know about that, but I know that I was brought up to understand 
the important thing for the faculty and the headmaster was the education. 

The Board took care of the money. Well, Nat, long before he became 
headmaster, realized that this simply was not an appropriate division. He 
worked very hard to convince the Board of some of the financial needs of 
the School in terms of refurbishing the buildings and support for faculty 
salaries. And he was almost single-handedly responsible for the 
integration of the School, bringing in black students with all the difficulty 
that caused. [The integration effort was a development of the 1960s.] 

True to his concern with refurbishing the campus, French brought about a veritable 
explosion of building activity during the latter part of the decade, beginning with 
the construction of the new middle school. 


Perry Dunlap Smith Hall 

When students started pulling plaster off the walls of Eliot Hall by the handful, this 
was not-so-subtle evidence that the building was on its way out. Condemnation by 
the fire department helped speed up its demise. When the time came to demolish 
the building, it took one man one week to complete the job. Mac McCarty watched 
this one-man demolition. The good wood was saved, the rest burned. Before Eliot 
came to its end, however, middle school students had a wonderful time painting 
murals on its walls, middle school teacher Bill Steel's idea as a farewell gesture. 

The gap left by the demise of Eliot Hall was rather graphically described in the 
Notes of August 1956: 

Country Day has had a tooth removed. It was a good tooth, serving 
faithfully and well for forty-six years, but it had reached the point where its 
cavities had cavities (as all good teeth will in time) so it had to go. Its loss 
has left a hole, but we have gained a new concept of space, and slightly to 
the south a new one [the middle school building] is rapidly growing in — a 
much better one. About all we can do about it now is let our memories roll 
over the newly acquired gap in our anatomy 

A local architect has estimated that it cost about $15-25,000 to build Eliot 
Hall [in 1910] at the $.30 per cubic foot rate which prevailed in the early part 
of this century. Today's $1.25 a cubic foot would make the erection of the 
same building cost about $75-85,000. A glance at the new middle school 
indicates that we are getting our money's worth. 

The truth of the matter is that the middle school had to be built as quickly and as 
economically as possible. The development fund set for itself a goal of $150,000 in 
early 1955. By the end of that year, the dedication and laying of the cornerstone 
took place; it was on Sunday afternoon, December 11, 1955. Into the time capsule 
for the cornerstone was placed a handmade booklet which included the signature 
of every individual in the School at the time. Descriptions of daily life at the 
School, written by middle and upper school students, were also put into the 
capsule, as well as sixteen pennies. Perry Smith laid the cornerstone and said a few 
words, followed by a short address by Talcott Griswold, president of the Board of 

This cornerstone, with its time capsule so ceremoniously put into position on that 
cold day in 1955, would be very unceremoniously and inadvertently brought to 
light by a construction worker on a hot day during the summer of 1987. A new 
library would be built thirty years later in the area of the old Eliot Hall and would 
be attached to the middle school where that cornerstone was so carefully laid. 

Campus Projects 

Elsewhere on campus a sign of the times was the growing number of cars being 
driven to school. During the 1957-58 school year, there was a "terrific problem" 


according to the September 1958 Purple and White. In response to the situation, the 
following summer the high school parking lot was extended eighty-five feet to the 
east — toward Leicester Hall — which enlarged the lot to a capacity of forty-eight 
cars. Junior boys helped move the bushes bordering the lot. 

Whenever bushes and trees were dealt with on campus, that was a job for the high 
school boys. Lorenz Aggens [treasurer /business manager, science 1955-66] 
remembered such incidents in his interview with the Talleys: 

I had just come to the School as the business manager. There was a dead 
tree — one of the first of the elm trees to go. We were very aware of the 
need to get it cut down in a hurry, because that was the proper thing to do 
with dead elm trees — get them out of there. I had called a tree surgeon to 
come out and give us a price on taking the tree down. He was out there, 
looking up, not too far from Knollslea Hall. And at that moment, Nat and 
Perry Smith came walking up the sidewalk from Morning Ex or somewhere. 
They saw me standing with this man who was obviously looking at the tree 
with the intent of taking it down. After he left, I went over and told them 
that that had been the tree surgeon who was going to give us a price on 
taking the tree down. They looked at one another, and Perry Dunlap Smith 
put his arm on my shoulder and said, "That's not the way we do it here." 

And I said, "Oh?" And Nat French said, "Am I right. Perry, that that is a 
sophomore boys' job, isn't it?" 

And, in fact, it turned out to be the sophomore boys' job. If Talcott 
Griswold [Board president] had known about some of the things that went 
on here in terms of physical liability, he would have been very upset. You 
will remember, that he was the one who handled all of the School's 
insurance, and he was very conservative about the risks that the School 
exposed itself to. But those boys went out and took that tree down. And 
then there was an announcement made in Morning Exercise that I think, 
now that I am getting somewhat older, was very touching. Nat said that 
this tree had served many generations of the School family, shading them, 
and putting its leaves down. He said that we should all be sad to see the 
tree go, and that each grade would be allowed to go out and trim branches 
from the tree and get it ready to be taken away. 

I sat in my office and watched this. For three days, kids chopped away on 
that tree. For some reason, no one was hurt, and they managed to 
dismantle the whole tree. The tree surgeon came and cut it into sections 
and put it on their truck and took it away. 

In fact, a great deal of physical labor on the campus was handled by the students, 
especially the high school boys. Will Talley also remembered this period: 

When we had heavy snows in the winter, it was the job of the junior and 
senior boys to go out and clear all of the walks. The School had bought a lot 
of snow shovels for that purpose. Now we have power machinery that does 


the job comparatively quickly. But in those days, they did not have tractors, 
and it was all done by muscle power. 

Jean Talley added: 

Doc Anderson and the senior boys did that. The shovels used to hang right 
under my office in Knollslea Hall. 

Aggens reflected on his early experiences with Work Day: 

When I first came to the School, Work Day was not just an exercise for the 
students, it was for the School. If the jobs of picking up, or digging up, or 
cutting down, or raking up did not get done on Work Day, they did not get 
done at all. 

I can remember when they were digging the hole where the old Girls' Gym 
used to stand, and the Art Center stands now. There in the area where the 
courtyard is now [the Library has since been built in this area], there was a 
hawthorn tree. It was about eight inches in diameter. A nice little tree, but 
very definitely in the way. The question was whether the tree could be 
saved — uprooted and moved somewhere — or if it had to be taken down. 
The bulldozers were working nearby and getting closer. Vince Reidy 
[industrial arts, maintenance 1951-66] talked with Joe Pynchon [English, 
public relations 1954-61] and noted that Joe was always looking for projects 
to run with the freshman boys. And Vince asked, "Do you think you could 
move that tree by the day after tomorrow?" 

Joe said that he would try, and the freshman boys all showed up with 
shovels. That turned out to be about a five-day project. They dug around 
the tree and cut the roots and tipped the tree to get the burlap under it and 
balled up the dirt. Finally, it was pretty well packaged, and the question 
became one of getting it up out of the hole and over to a new location. 

So they excavated a ramp or inclined plane up out of the hole and put 
planks along the way to the new hole near the lower school building. The 
day came when all appeared to be in readiness and the job of actually 
moving the tree was Morning Exercise for that day. The entire School got 
out there. We had ropes from every place you can imagine. We had big 
ropes and little ropes. The lower school kids had clothes lines. We had 
great hawsers that somebody brought from somewhere. 

We had ropes tied onto that tree like you wouldn't believe. At any given 
moment, there were probably 150 kids pulling on the tree. It was just 
barely moving. And the construction workers all stood there and watched 
this. They couldn't believe it. So far as they were concerned the tree wasn't 
worth saving. And if you wanted to save it, the obvious solution was to get 
one of the bulldozers to just push it where it was supposed to go. 


So here were all these kids pulling and pulling on the tree, and it was just 
making an inch at a time. Joe would get out there and say, "We all have to 
pull together! One, two, three, HEAVE!" Ropes would break, and kids 
would fly every which way. But it was moving. Finally, the bulldozer 
driver got in his machine and he didn't wait for anybody to ask him — he 
just got behind the tree and put his blade down. I think he understood. He 
could have moved it easily all by himself. But he sat there and had the 
bulldozer snort and roar. The kids were pulling and the bulldozer was 
pushing, and up out of the hole it came! 

Once they got it on the level, they could move it — slide it over into the 
hole they had made. They straightened it up and everybody dug in and 
threw dirt in around it. Buckets of water were poured on it. And it is still 
there today. It was not very healthy looking the last time I looked at it 
[1983]. There are dead branches on the bottom. One of these days the 
landscaping plan will call for it to be cut down. And I am sad about that, 
because there is a little tree that has a tremendous piece of a lot of people in 
it. [The little hawthorn tree gave its life for the sake of the new Library in 
the summer of 1987.] 

This kind of attachment to a specific tree on the campus was not felt again until the 
autumn of 1988 when the entire student body came together to plant a beautiful 
young sweet gum tree in honor of the Piper brothers, Alex, a senior, and Nicholas, 
an eighth grader, who were tragically killed in an automobile accident that year. 


The Board of Directors asked Nat French to prepare for the first time an annual 
report, beginning with the year 1955-56. The intent was to provide an overview of 
the School's progress and, from French's perspective, to illustrate what made 
NSCDS distinct from other schools. 

The enrollment in 1955-56 was on the up-swing, increasing by thirty-eight students 
over the past year. The total was now 366 students, 192 boys and 174 girls. 

Reading was still a major concern. Evelyn Kratz, first grade teacher [1942-69], 
spent the 1953-54 academic year training for the Gillingham Reading Program. In 
the fall of 1955 the Gillingham Program was instituted at North Shore. Anna 
Gillingham herself came to the school periodically for the next four years to guide 
the development of the program. An article describing the program in the 
February 1960 issue of Notes pointed out that: 

Miss Gillingham had worked as a research associate with Dr. Samuel T. 

Orton, a neurologist interested in the problems faced by the remedial reader. 
After two years. Miss Gillingham speculated on the possibility of 
identifying the remedial reader before he became remedial. Dr. Orton 
immediately saw the exciting possibilities in this idea, and Miss Gillingham 


set about to find ways of doing so. The problems she faced were 
monumental. She knew the characteristics of remedial readers, but it was 
quite a different thing to identify comparable characteristics in a child too 
young to leam to read. However, with the help of neurologists and teachers, 
tests and interviews were developed to identify the potentially remedial 
reader, and a program was designed to keep these children from becoming 
remedial. The first regular classes in the developmental reading program at 
North Shore began in September of 1955. 

Although we were cautious when Miss Gillingham's program was 
established at North Shore, it was almost impossible to avoid enthusiastic 
optimism. The prospect of being able to free children of the devastatingly 
hopeless attitudes that become a part of most remedial readers was too 
exciting to look upon calmly. The progress made by the children in these 
classes in the first two years was sufficiently impressive to encourage us to 
start a developmental program in the middle school and to establish what 
amounts to a Gillingham spelling program for all children in grades one 
through five. 

Everything seemed to be going well, but, with the added impetus afforded 
by the national publicity given the Gillingham program, we began to 
receive inquiries and requests for help that the program is not designed to 
give. The Gillingham program is not a remedial program, and we have 
often been obliged to disappoint parents of children who almost certainly 
should have learned to read by the Gillingham method, but who have 
already developed reading techniques and attitudes incompatible with the 
Gillingham approach. It is true that we have been able through the 
Gillingham program to assist some children after they have experienced 
failure while attempting to leam to read by a sight word method, but it is 
also true that these children have never had the same degree of success as 
that enjoyed by their classmates who have known no other reading 
technique. The real strength of the Gillingham program lies in the fact that 
potentially remedial readers never experience failure. They will, of course, 
have their good days and their bad days, but the Gillingham program 
makes available to them the reading tools designed to meet their special 
needs. They come to understand that they need not be confused and that 
there is no necessity for wild guessing. They can depend upon their 
reading techniques to make them masters of the printed page. 

The senior kindergartners were tested by the Gillingham method, and those 
indicating potential problems met in special classes as long as they needed the 
extra help. They joined the regular reading classes as soon as they were able, 
certainly by the fifth grade. Gerald Ostrom [remedial reading, testing, 
transportation 1952-67] worked with middle and upper school students to increase 
accuracy and speed in their reading skills. 

Science as well as reading was a focus of attention at North Shore. The Soviet 
Sputnik was not launched until the following year, but already there was concern 


about the fact that incoming high school students were showing less interest in 
science than the faculty liked to see. This was true whether the students were 
educated at North Shore or came from other schools. In 1955 Joseph Liacata 
[1955-61] joined the faculty to teach lower and middle school science. He used the 
discovery-through-observation method, putting aside the textbook and workbook, 
encouraging the children to learn by experience. 

As for modem language, the third grade had completed the second year of German 
with Dr. Karla Landau. The goal was to achieve conversational ability before 
entering high school. 

In addition, the language department was doing some interesting research which 
they described in the Annual Report : 

For a long time we have noticed that a student who has no trouble with 
Latin may stumble miserably in French, or one who finds in German a 
second language may be baffled with the intricacies of Latin. We have tried 
to predict which language might be most successfully studied through 
work done in an eighth grade course in the nature of language which 
includes a small taste of French and German and Latin, allowing both the 
student and the teacher to foresee the degree of success one might expect in 
the future study of one of these languages. While this has worked fairly 
well, the language department has taken another step by developing 
predictive tests which were administered last year to each student entering 
the high school. On the basis of the results of this test, a student was 
advised to take the language in which he or she was most likely to succeed. 

The Advanced Placement Examination was started in 1955-56. The North Shore 
graduate could be prepared for any one of the language (Latin, French, German), 
history or English tests and achieve sophomore standing on entering college. 

Musical groups had increased: they now included the A Cappella Choir, the 
Ensemble and a new Madrigal group in the upper school, and the Country Day 
Chorale of fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh graders for the lower and middle 

By this point in the history of the School, seventeen faculty members had left to 
become headmasters or headmistresses at other institutions. Cleveland Thomas, in 
1956, was selected as the next principal of The Francis W. Parker School. In 1957 
David Jackson [head of lower and middle schools, 1954-57] was appointed head of 
the Laboratory School at the University of Illinois. 

The Parents' Association continued its regular work in all divisions of the School 
and, as part of its yearly Educational Lecture Series, brought in the poet Carl 
Sandburg for the second time. 

The Alumni Association established an Alumni Fund during 1956 and was 
working on its first Alumni Registry, an overwhelming piece of work without the 


use of a computer. It would take another year to complete. The alumni were 
playing a growing role in the life of the School. By 1957 four of them sat on the 
Board of Directors. The first alumni directory, with 1489 names, was published in 
April of 1957. 

There was both good news and bad news in regard to financial matters: the good 
news was that following several years of large deficits the School came within $551 
of a balanced budget in 1955-56. The bad news was that the Board was forced to 
arrange for "bank loans secured by a $100,000 mortgage on the school property." 
By 1957, however, the last bill had been paid on Perry Dunlap Smith Hall and all 
bank loans retired. French was making headway in his attempt to raise faculty 
salaries: there was a $24,000 increase. The Treasure Chest, a project undertaken by 
the women of the school community, contributed $6,000 for purchase of new 
curtains for the auditorium windows, for refurbishing the locker rooms, and for 
use in retiring the bank loan. 

In the autumn of 1956, the enrollment was up to 388 — twenty-two more students 
than the preceding year — and forty faculty members. School year 1957 opened 
with an enrollment of 400 students, a faculty of forty-two and a staff of thirteen. A 
number of eighth graders were now completing a year's work in algebra. The 
math department was particularly pleased with its achievement: 

For the first time a number of students in the junior class completed a 
fourth year of mathematics and are enrolled as seniors in a mathematics 
course of college level. They will enter college with a knowledge of 
analytical geometry and differential calculus. 

In physics. Will Talley had challenged his students to present: 

... at least one invention suggested to them by what they see as a need of 
society which could be answered by an application of knowledge which 
they derived from the physics course. 

Eighteen ideas for socially beneficial inventions were the result. 

Summer programs included the Day Camp, which enrolled over 400 children that 
year, and a new academic program featuring individual tutorials with groups of 
four or less, especially geared toward under-achieving children. 

The revolt in Hungary in October 1956 elicited months of work by the School to 
gather, sort and pack clothing for the refugees. Money was also collected to help 
the Friends Society ship the clothing. Concerns of the world beyond the campus 
were dealt with by the student council and as well as by Morning Exercise 
programs. The student council set up a service committee to gather information 
about the needs of the larger community and to organize student effort to deal 
with these needs. Their activities included selling poppies for veterans and 
sending work crews to help in the opening of a charity camp for children. 


The Morning Ex program was quite remarkable in its scope, both in the programs 
it brought in from the outside as well as those generated from within the School. A 
planning committee arranged: 

... for people to come from outside to discuss missionary work in South 
Africa, permafrost in Greenland, the French Algerian situation, nuclear 
testing, and recession at home. From within the School came discussions of 
high fidelity, the story of Joseph Pulitzer, a critique of the new Edsel, the 
story of the fifth grade weather station, and an analysis of Western 

The high point of the year was a visit by Dr. Tom Dooley, the American physician 
who, following the Korean War, devoted his life to southeast Asia. Dr. Dooley had 
been a naval buddy of Larry Aggens, who was now on the faculty at North Shore. 
Aggens described preparing Nat French for the coming of Dooley: 

. . . Knowing both of them — I knew Nat would be very severe about 
cutting the speaker off when it came time for Morning Exercise to terminate 
(he would just stand up and say, "I'm sorry. Morning Ex is over"), and 
knowing Tom Dooley was the kind who could go on for hours and hours — 

I spent a good deal of time talking with Nat about what the School was 
going to experience. 

So I told Nat about how we [the ship that Dooley and Aggens were on] 
went into southeast Asia and found that the people spoke a hundred 
languages. Presumably, they spoke French, but in fact, only the elite spoke 
French in Viet Nam in the early fifties. Tom Dooley was the ship's doctor, 
and he spoke French and tried to communicate with the people in French. 

But we wound up talking to the wrong people. The people themselves did 
not speak French. Their appointed leaders, who were either Frenchmen or 
highly educated Vietnamese, could speak French. But they were either 
killed, or gone, or back in France. 

And all these people came to our ship for help. The people who stood out 
among them were those wearing the long black robes and pith helmets. 
Someone with a long black robe and a pith helmet was a priest. These were 
priests who were the step beyond the missionaries. The missionaries had 
done their thing, and these priests were the second generation. They were 
Vietnamese priests. They did not speak French, but they did speak all of 
the dialects of that part of the world. And they spoke LATIN! The Latin of 
the Church. 

I don't know how many words there are in liturgical Latin, but Tom Dooley, 
who was well-versed in Latin as a classical scholar and as a doctor [and as a 
Catholic who was probably an altar boy when the Mass was in Latin], and 
these Vietnamese priests communicated all of the things that needed to be 
communicated about the evacuation of these people — in Latin; about 
people excreting over in the comer, and THIS is the toilet, and so on. And 


they did it all in Latin. Tom would stand there and tear his hair and say, 
"There are not words to cover what is going on down in Hold #2!" So he 
would get the priest and they would sit there and talk about it — in Latin. 

Well, Nat really grooved on that. That was what he wanted to find in a 
Latin teacher. Maybe "Spike" (Millett) [Latin, history 1928-42] did that or 
Julia Childs [Latin 1919-46]. But Nat had this image in his mind — from 
"Spike," from Julia Childs, from I don't know where. But he never seemed 
to be able to find it in a Latin teacher. We seemed to have fine Latin 
teaching — the kids learned Latin. 

Apparently Aggens spoke convincingly because when Dr. Dooley came to 
Morning Ex, he was not cut off by Nat French. The students become so excited 
about Dooley's description of his Operation Medico, a phase of the International 
Rescue Committee, that they insisted on helping. Dooley's message was that lack 
of cleanliness was the number one cause of illness and early death. The most 
critical need was soap. 

So soap became the central focus of the year. The tickets to the dances were soap; 
on certain days the students paid for their lunches with soap; the homerooms had 
soap contests; and periodically at Morning Ex during the year the large container 
with the collected bars was put on one side of a balance beam and the largest 
member of the football team on the other side to see if the weight of the soap yet 
equaled the weight of the football player. When the collection was finally closed, 
there were some twelve hundred bars of soap to be shipped off to Dr. Dooley in 
addition to: 

. . . several dozen babushkas — to be used as the distinguishing symbol of 
the midwife, and four to five pounds of costume jewelry — destined to 
become insignia for nurses. 

These items were used in Thailand, Laos, Pakistan and India. 

In the late 1980s the daughter of social studies chairman, William Freisem [1973- 
90], went to Thailand as a nurse. In preparing herself for the experience, she read 
Tom Dooley's books and was startled and pleased by his reference to The North 
Shore Country Day School. 

The enrollment for 1958-59 was 398 students. This was the first year that a group 
of seniors finished a year of college mathematics (analytical geometry and 
differential calculus). About half of the eighth graders were now studying algebra 
before going into high school. 

This was the fifth year that the German language experiment had been going on in 
the lower school. The results were disappointing. The evidence both here and at 
other schools was that merely starting children at a younger age was not sufficient 
to ensure bilinguality. In 1958 a French program was initiated in the seventh 


grade. The results after one year were more encouraging than was the other 

The science program was undergoing changes. General science, traditionally 
taught on the ninth grade level, was now being offered in the lower grades. 

Biology, which had been taught in tenth grade, was now optional to ninth graders 
which, in turn, opened up chemistry and physics to the tenth and eleventh grades. 

The faculty somehow found time to put on the play, "See How They Run," for the 
benefit of the scholarship fund. 

The social services committee under the student council continued to look for ways 
of helping the outside world. They earned the money necessary to send the soap to 
Dr. Dooley. They organized drives to assist with the Community Chest and Red 
Cross and helped sell coupon books for Ravinia. In spite of the fact that service 
was the goal of the committee, it appeared that their work was mainly fund- 

The Alumni Association was under the energetic leadership of Franklin Bowes '27. 
The Alumni News Letter was produced by the publications committee. 

Curriculum Study 

At the end of the decade, a twelve-year curriculum study for each of the five 
disciplines was compiled. The English department's curricular discussions cen- 
tered around such concerns as the effect of teaching methods on student attitudes, 
on the retention of information and on students' growth as human beings. 

The history department was concerned with the immense body of material they 
felt responsible for imparting to young people who would be adults in the latter 
third of the twentieth century. Global awareness was expressed in classes on 
Africa and India in the sixth grade, China in the second semester of the ninth grade 
and socialism and Soviet Russia in the tenth grade European course. 

Contemporary world problems were studied with reference to the lessons from 

The science department had instituted a physics course, inspired by the M.I.T. 
study of the mid-fifties which had investigated what should be taught at the 
secondary level. Instead of viewing the course as a succession of units in 
mechanics, light, gas, heat, sound and so forth, the new perspective began with a 
study of wave motion, which then became the connecting thread for the rest of the 
course. Will Talley [science and math 1943-72] enjoyed pointing out the difference 
in the two approaches: 


The old textbook ended with a rhetorical question, "Man has succeeded in 
sending a rocket to an altitude of 450 miles. What will come next?" In the 
new course is a problem which most students are expected to solve, "A 

satellite encircles the earth at an altitude of 500 miles every 98 minutes. 

How much does the earth weigh?" 

It is obvious how far the study of high school physics had moved during the fifties. 

The mathematics department was celebrating the fact that eighth grade algebra 
included such modem topics as set theory. In the upper school a class of 
sophomores and juniors was handling a year of algebra as well as most of plane 
trigonometry. A still more advanced group was doing analytical geometry and 
differential calculus. The math teachers, however, were concerned that there were 
not more "mathematically inclined" youngsters in the school population and 
looked to the teaching of arithmetic in the lower school to stimulate mathematical 
delight. Experimentation with the Cuisenaire rods, introduced in the late fifties, 
was very promising. Through manipulation of the rods, children were learning 
mathematical relationships on a concrete level which was providing the basis for 
later more sophisticated mathematical insights such as the binomial theorem. 

The fine arts department continued to be essential. The middle school embarked 
on a new fine arts program which attempted to involve all of the students in at 
least one experience a year in which several arts were brought together in a single 
project. The eighth grade of 1960 produced "The Boy Mozart," which combined 
design, drama and music into a single production. The yearly Christmas Tableaux 
drew upon the skills of many of the students in large scale painting, creative 
movement and singing. Mural painters descended on Knollslea Hall in its last 
months of existence in 1960. (Classrooms and offices had by then been moved into 
the the newly renovated Dunlap Hall.) That was the year that a group of chamber 
players, the A Cappella, and the Ensemble performed at Grosse Pointe University 
School outside of Detroit, Michigan. 

More than half of the 1960 senior class was enrolled in advanced placement 
courses. A survey of career preferences of the seniors that year showed teaching, 
foreign service and law of about equal interest among the boys. For the girls, 
marriage outstripped all other careers, but close behind came the diplomatic corps, 
teaching and social work in that order. There were 92 alumni children from 53 
alumni families enrolled in the School. 

The Future of the School 

The Board of Directors at the end of the decade was analyzing needs for the future 
Larry Aggens, business manager at the time, asked Bob Johnson '43, a member of 
the Board from the 1950s until 1972, to describe these projection exercises in 1985. 
Johnson remembered: 

When I was on the Board, we were wondering what was going to become 
of the institution. We were sure that it was no longer going to be a college 
preparatory school in the sense that it had been. There was no longer the 
easy, "old boy" system of getting kids into Ivy League schools, so there was 


no way that the headmaster and the admissions staff could promise results 
to parents who wanted their kids to go to the best colleges. We couldn't 
keep up with the salaries of the public schools. We knew that, increasingly, 
parents were looking to North Shore for those children that had evidence of 
learning disabilities. There weren't "normal" children coming to the School 

— or at least we figured that was the future. 

We had ideas about the School breaking up into three or four pieces, you 
will recall — one that might still be college preparatory in an old-fashioned 
sort of way; one that would be in the arts, because we were linking 
ourselves with The Music Center of the North Shore, and a new arts 
building was being built, and we had a real notion of a teacher strength in 
the arts that had not been the case before; one unit of the School would 
certainly be for children with certain kinds of learning disabilities. We had 
gone through the Gillingham [reading] experience, and wanted to build on 
that. There was some fourth kind of school — we had things divided 
into quarters. 

There was little anticipation that [the School] would become [in the mid- 
1980s] very much like it was in the 1930s and 1940s. 

We were trying to look ahead. Nat and I participated in a ten-year 
forecasting exercise, you may recall, with some other independent schools 

— promulgated by the Ford Foundation. Unfortunately, that was in the 
days before computers, so we sat up late nights and did all that calculating 
by hand. Change one figure in the first year, and you had to change them 
through all ten years. There were all sorts of attempts like this to look 
ahead, and yet it didn't have much to do in reality with the way things 
turned out. 

At the beginning of 1959 the Board of Directors was ready to make a statement 
based on its assessment at that time. Charles Newman, Board president, wrote in 
the report which appeared in the February 1959 Notes: 

We have two weaknesses which must be corrected: 

We must guarantee the continued quality of our teaching by providing 
adequate and competitive teacher salaries. 

We must replace those portions of our physical plant which have been worn 
out by two generations of students. 

After many months of searching discussion and analysis, the Board of 
Directors decided to embark upon a development program to meet the 
School's pressing physical and non-physical needs. This program will cost 
one million dollars, to be raised over the three-year period 1959 to 1961 


The Development Program will provide a fund to finance additional 
compensation for teachers of special promise and performance. 

It will provide for a complete renovation of the high school building 
(Dunlap Hall), including additional classrooms, a well-equipped library 
and science facilities. The high school enrollment will be expanded from 
160 to 200 students. 

It will provide a new gymnasium, thus affording adequate athletic and 
locker room facilities for both boys and girls. 

It will provide new and efficient administrative space within the expanded 
high school building and do away with Knollslea Hall — a costly and 
inefficient building to maintain. 

It will provide on the site of the present girls' gym a new building for music, 
arts and shop. This will allow us a central location, connected to the 
auditorium, for teaching these subjects to the lower, middle and upper 

This was a major commitment on the part of the Board: the complete renovation of 
the upper school, the building of two new buildings, the demolition of two others 
and increasing upper school enrollment by twenty percent. 

In order to prepare for the renovation of Dunlap Hall all of the books from the 
library on the top floor had to be removed. A major problem in logistics was 
solved by a clever assembly line system of several hundred students standing next 
to each other. All 6,000 volumes were moved from the library to the girls' gym 
(serving as the temporary library) in only one and a quarter hours. 

The Building Projects 

The return to school in the fall of 1959 saw many changes on campus. What the 
students encountered was described in a front-page article in the September- 
October 1959 issue of The Purple and White : 

You may have noticed a few mounds of dirt around the NSCDS campus, or 
perhaps Dunlap Hall has looked slightly incapacitated. Don't worry — an 
H-bomb hasn't claimed our sixteen acres yet, but the building project has! 

The ambitious renovation of Dunlap Hall got underway almost 
immediately after the last spectators left commencement on June 8. 
Previously you may recall die armloads of books transported to our "new" 
library in the girls' gym and the school cleanup when our muscle men 
carted off desks, lockers, and everything that was removable (and some 
things we didn't think were!). This was done in order that a few walls 
might be knocked out of the high school to enlarge the classrooms. 


Incidentally, now it's quite hard to figure out just where the old classrooms 
were. Though Leicester Hall isn't the most ideal spot to indulge in 
chemistry experiments and other such entertainment, the seeming hardships 
will be well worth-while when the new Dunlap is completed. 

Its features will include larger classrooms, a beautiful lab which will 
dominate the entire basement, and a complete redecorating. The 
inhabitants of Knollslea plan to set up their typewriters on the first floor, 
and the senior girls' homeroom will be amid the offices in the approximate 
location of Madame Valvo's old classroom. The rest of the classes will meet 
on the second floor. It is expected that the finished product will open its 
doors soon after Christmas vacation — only three months from now. 

But plans don't end there! The next two years will see many new changes 
at NSCDS. The boys are fortunate in getting a new gym, housed in a 
building of its own east of Dunlap. The girls profit by this too as they will 
occupy the old boys' gym. The former girls' gym will be tom down, and a 
new arts and crafts center will rise in its place. 

The familiar buildings will be sentimentally missed, but the new North 
Shore will be more adequate and certainly more beautiful. And who 
knows — plans for a swimming pool may be next on the agenda! 

Nat French's version of the autumn renovation of 1959 was recorded in the Annual 
Report of November 1960: 

On the opening of our forty-first year in September 1959, we faced the 
confusion inevitable to building. The high school building was a shambles 
of reconstruction and the area around it was reserved for the contractor. 
Needless to say, the total picture presented a happy confusion but 
nonetheless a confusion. 

School began fifteen minutes early and the length of the year was extended 
an extra week to account for time lost as a result of the building program. 

The lower and middle schools were able to operate without serious 
inconvenience, except for the fact that the girls' gymnasium was taken over 
to become the high school study hall. Leicester Hall, which for nearly 
twenty years had been the home of our small boarding department, 
reverted to its earlier status as a classroom building, and the boarding 
department became a chapter in our history. By careful planning we were 
able to schedule most classes in Leicester, but some were held in the 
auditorium, some in the basement of Knollslea, others in the art library [in 
Knollslea], and Mrs. Talley's office [also in Knollslea] became a somewhat 
crowded classroom capable of seating twenty students. 

Perhaps it was the vision of the future which held the School's morale, but I 
prefer to think that our students and faculty refused to confuse a little 


inconvenience with hardship. Certainly it was a mud-spattered, difficult, 
and very happy fall. 

By the time 1960 came in, the renovation of Dunlap Hall was almost complete. The 
plans for the other buildings were yet to be developed. But the most painful part 
of the board's program for the future was "doing away with Knollslea Hall," an 
ordeal yet to be faced. 

By the end of the fifties, it was evident that there was an energy and a vitality with 
which Nat French had taken on the role of headmaster. He discovered early that 
he could not be another Perry Dunlap Smith. He was neither the prolific essayist 
nor the philosopher that Smith was, nor did he have the same kind of interaction 
with parents as his predecessor. He attempted taking on the freshman health class, 
which for years had been taught by Smith, but despite good intentions, he 
appeared only about once a month — according to an alumna who was a freshman 
the first year of the French headmastership. He did, however, continue to teach his 
challenging United States history course to seniors until June of 1960 — a 
substantial amount of work — in addition to his administrative duties. 

Faculty salaries needed upgrading; French raised them significantly. The 
curriculum needed overhauling; French set a curriculum study in motion and 
watched with expectation. The campus buildings needed updating; French 
plunged into this task with vigor and enthusiasm. By the end of the fifties, French 
had made admirable strides toward his vision for the School. 

Perry Dunlap Smith and Sam Howe '73 
break ground on May 22, 1959 for the 
addition to Dunlap Hall. 


The class of 1959 helps to move the library from the top floor of Dunlap 
Hall to the gym. 

Nathaniel French shows blueprints to students. 


THE SIXTIES: Rebuilding and Renewal 

No objective in the education of children is more 
appealing than that of the attempt to develop in 
each individual his own peculiar value. . . . 

Nathaniel French 

Nathaniel French launched into his 1961 essay "In Search of Individuality" for the 
June Notes of that year. He went on to warn: "It is easier to honor this goal than to 
live with its requirements." But live with its requirements he did because The 
North Shore Country Day School was the kind of school it was, and Nat French 
was committed to encouraging this kind of development in his students. Little did 
he realize that by the end of the decade faculty members would be marching in 
Selma in defiance of the wishes of the Board of Trustees, and that students would 
be carrying out protests against compulsory chorus and experimenting with heavy 
drugs. In his idealistic essay, he continued, 

... I am quite willing to admit the benefits of a social organization which 
requires some restraint of individual impulse and rewards the giving of 
oneself to the interest of others, and I should hope that both the restraint 
and the altruism will spring more from a moral sense than from practical 
considerations. Is it necessary to suppress individual nature to develop a 
moral, social organization? Is there an essential conflict between "oneness" 
and "togetherness?" Is it inevitable that the highly individualistic artist 
behave badly as a social being? 

Certainly not. At the same time we are training children to live and work in 
an interdependent society we can and should be nurturing every bit of 
creative individualism that circumstances allow 

There is a fairly commonly held view of the relationship between adults and 
children which has been labelled the Jug and Mug Theory of Education. 

This school of thought holds that in the jug is the substance of life ever- 
ready to be poured into the mugs. The jug, whether parent or teacher, finds 
the mugs always open at the top and ready for filling, and at the end of the 
lesson it is possible to tip the mugs a little to see whether or not they have 
been sufficiently filled. A child treated as a receptacle is likely to behave 
like one, and we should expect its learning to be useful only when joggled 
by some external demand. This will do for some sorts of training, but it 
will not build thoughtful people capable of the spontaneous action which 
characterizes individual endeavor. If we want enterprising children, we 
must honor and respect their enterprise; we must teach them in a manner 
which elicits from them an active participation. 


Nat French's Teaching Style 

French descibed two ways of teaching history, giving insight into his own style of 
teaching as well as into his philosophy of education: 

Perhaps this thought can be made clear by comparison of two approaches 
to a given body of material. For example, one can outline the antecedents 
of the War of 1812, explaining the Napoleonic Wars and the struggle of the 
English to prevent the collapse of Europe, describing the trade interests of 
the United States and then relate the events to one another in such a way as 
to show a cause and effect relationship. Teaching in this manner assures 
the student of the benefit of more mature minds and an analysis which is 
historically respectable, and it may be done at such a level of intensive 
work as to be commendable both in scope and depth. Because the teaching 
has dealt with analysis of causes and an observation of their effects, one 
may be sure that the elements of historical thought have been covered. One 
does not know which, if any, among the students has indulged in historical 
thought, however. There is in the above example no demand which could 
not be satisfied with rote memorization, and for many of the students there 
is a chance of good success without the kind of learning which would be of 
help to them in understanding another war in another time. In other 
words, one might go through this exercise as an honor student and be no 
better an historian. 

By contrast, the same material might be approached in such a manner as to 
require original analysis and a synthesis which relates cause to effect in 
reasonable manner. The teacher's problem is to find a way in which the 
student may be led to an investigation which cannot be resolved by simple 
memorization of the text, to outline a procedure for study which will 
enhance both the knowledge of history and the student as an individual 
whose thought warrants respect. The period of international stress 
preceding the war might be limited for purposes of this exercise to a decade 
and the class given a choice of one of the following problems. For instance, 
(a) Given omnipotence for one act, suggest the least destructive step you 
might have taken to avert the war; or, (b) Put yourself in Madison's place 
and assume that you had secret knowledge of Waterloo as early as 1809; 
how would your course of action have been different from that which 
Madison took? or, (c) Would it have been possible for an Anglophile with 
control of a substantial section of the press to have swung the government 
to make war on France instead of England? It will be clear in such an 
assignment that no teacher can judge the quality of the work done except in 
terms of the degree to which the student has taken into account the facts 
which describe the period and in terms of the reasonableness of his thought, 
and equally clear that the best hypothesis will come from the most knowing 
and the most imaginative student. Further, such an approach as this should 
develop individual power without sacrificing the conventions which 
control spelling, punctuation, paragraph structure. 


The problems which a family faces in developing individuality are not so 
very different from those which beset the School. At home they expect to 
instill habits of orderliness and cleanliness, attitudes of respect for others 
and a willingness to care for property, and the many more habits and 
attitudes and beliefs which are the foundation of a particular family 

Here is a vast field in which social standards must take precedence over the 
whims of the individual, and here again the success of a family hinges on 
the degree to which its members build a bond of common understanding 
and agreement. Superficially, this may seem to be in contradiction to a 
climate which honors and fosters the individual, but it may, in fact, provide 
the strength of which individual action is bom. 

For instance, the adolescent boy or girl has a peculiar talent for discovering 
the oppressive nature of parental restrictions, and the most favored element 
in this eternal argument is the tenet, fiercely held by any normal twelve to 
seventeen-year-old, that no other is so put upon by restraint. Since this is 
an argument no parent can win, it provides good material for discussion of 
ways and means of family decision-making and is an obvious opportunity 
to stress the value of individual strength. 

No one family will enjoy all of the discussions inherent in growing up in the 
1960s, but a few examples will demonstrate the wealth of the opportunity. 

Can you believe in democracy and conceive of a benevolent dictatorship? 

Why is it wrong for the eighth grade girls to wear lipstick? Can we afford 
the luxury of abhorrence of an aggressive war while Castro rules in Cuba? 

Was it fair to appoint the two captains who chose sides this afternoon? Can 
you justify a "white lie" when the motives prompting it are justifiable? Is it 
fair that we should lose a game so that everybody may play? And on and 
on from day to day, some questions important, some trivial, but all 
allowing a chance for a student to clarify his thinking and thus to find out 
where he stands as an individual with a mind of his own. 

In his writing and his teaching French displayed high tolerance for ambiguity. His 
students were both frustrated and stimulated by the questions he threw at them: 
impossible to answer, but guaranteed to provoke thought. His colleagues 
sometimes felt he escaped answering their questions by posing questions of his 
own. Be that as it may, he was determined not to let students pass through North 
Shore with comfortable easy answers if he had anything to say about it. 

Like a navigator on the ships he loved to sail, Nat French launched the School into 
the new decade with new plans — to rebuild the campus, to revitalize the 
curriculum, and to renew the commitment to stimulate the individuality and 
creativity in each student. The rebuilding of the campus was already begun with 
the renovation of Dunlap Hall. The first month of 1960 brought with it the move 
into the new upper school. 


Rebuilding the Campus 

Knollslea Hall 

The dislocation caused by gutting Dunlap Hall, the upper school, brought 
discomfort but not the kind of pain evoked by the decision to demolish stately old 
Knollslea Hall. The students wondered, "Will it really happen?" in the March 1960 
Purple and White: 

When it was announced recently that Knollslea will no longer be with us 
after spring vacation, laments were heard across the beautiful sixteen [the 
affectionate name for the campus in those days] since the building is the 
oldest on the school grounds. In fact, the edifice is almost one hundred 
years old, having been built in 1870 by John C. Garland, one of the first 
settlers in Winnetka. The name "Knollslea" was given this building many 
years ago when it served as a dormitory for the girls who attended Girton 
Preparatory School, since the building was situated on a knoll. 

It seems fairly certain that Knollslea will be tom down in the future now 
that the [administrative] office was moved permanently to Dunlap. 

Although the School's own interior decorators [students] have been busy 
painting streaks of lightning on the stairs and depicting other such glories, 
it seems that their work will not endure long enough to be removed to an 
art gallery. But, wait a moment! Is it definite that Knollslea will be tom 
down? We wish to speculate about this. 

In the June issue of the 1924 Purple and White, there is a very interesting 
article concerning Knollslea. At that time also the School was planning to 
tear down the building. It was not certain of its plans for utilizing the space. 
One plan was to use it for a parking lot; another idea was to lay out some 
tennis courts there. In any event, the building was to go. 

What happened? The building is still standing — thirty-six years after plans 
were made to raze it. We do not know what happened to the project; 
perhaps sentiment for the landmark prevented its destruction. Will this 
happen again in 1960? 

Jean Talley [registrar 1939-82] had bitter-sweet memories of this grand old 

Charming Knollslea Hall. It was a beautiful Victorian building of stone. 

Perry Dunlap Smith's office was in the dining room. It had massive sliding 
doors between it and his secretary's office, which had been the anteroom. 

That was where they had sherry before dinner (when it was still a 
residence). My office was the butler's pantry just off of Perry's office. My 
second office was one of the parlors. . . Upstairs there were the art classes 
and the music classes. It was a charming building. . . But the place was so 
rotten that every day there was coal gas coming up the basement stairs. 


The Chicago Sunday Tribune ran an article (April 3, 1960) on the razing of the 
building. Describing the historical background of the building and telling of John 
Garland who built it, the article concluded: 

Last week the wrecking crews arrived. In three days the walls had 
crumbled. The basement was filled with brick, and topsoil was shoveled 
over the brick so the grass will grow. 

Nat French admitted his own feelings about tine decision in the Annual Report of 

It was something of a wrench to tear down Knollslea Hall, but the cost of 
repair and upkeep had become prohibitive. While it had become 
something of a landmark, it also had become for us a "white elephant." In 
contrast to some predictions, the building was fundamentally weak, and in 
less than a week's time was down and trucked away. 

Two remnants of Knollslea Hall were still left on campus in the late eighties: one of 
the enormous lime grout blocks (the building material out of which the mansion 
was constructed) at the top of the circle drive and a mounted cornice piece hanging 
in Dunlap Hall. 

The Mac McCarty Gym 

The next step in the Board of Directors' plan was to build a new boys' gymnasium. 
Shortly after Knollslea was razed. The Purple and White (April 1960) ran an article 
about the welcome prospect: 

The new gym will be begun soon and is to be finished approximately in 
December. Plans have already been made for the $285,335 structure to have 
three levels and a lot of playing room for everyone to use. 

The building itself will be made of red brick and will be situated on the side 
of the hill near the music school. There will be a walk leading up to a door 
on the highest level which will open upon a balcony over-looking a full- 
sized playing court with two cross-courts. The balcony will have spectator 
space, and bleachers underneath it, which can be pulled out from under the 
floor, will be included soon after the building's completion. 

The second level of the building will consist of the playing court and athletic 
offices. The lowest floor will contain new locker rooms, a training room, an 
activities room primarily for tennis, wrestling and other such sports. Also 
included on the ground floor are a laundry room and showers. 

Don't be surprised if you see more bulldozers tearing up the beautiful 
sixteen in the near future. It will be well worth it when the finished 
product is displayed, a building which all students may enjoy. 


A bulldozer might have tom up a magnificent Copper Beech tree situated right 
where the gym was to go if there had not been such a loud protest. Larry Aggens, 
business manager at the time, recalls: 

We got telephone calls from all over telling us how to save that tree. We 
were told that it was the most northerly of Copper Beech trees — that the 
next closest one is down in Indiana. 

As a result of that tree, the gym was built several feet east of where 
originally planned. 

With the completion of the new gym in 1960, which became the boys' gym (and 
was named the Martin J. McCarty Gym in 1987, "Mac" Gym for short), the girls 
moved from the "old, old gym," which dated back to Girton days, into the 1924 
gym which the boys had been using. This was good news all the way around. But 
the building program was not yet complete. The Arts Center was constructed in 

The Nathaniel French Arts Center 

"As the days of construction of the new Arts Center draw closer, one can almost 

taste the joy of anticipation " With great excitement Nat French described the 

preparation for his pet project, which he hoped would become the focal point of 
the campus, in the March 1964 Notes: 

. . . Many people have given generously of their time and thought to 
provide a plan for this building, and a large sum of money has been raised 
to support its construction. Although essentially a new home for the arts, 
the whole job which we undertake involves a new heating plant for the 
School, addition to the lunchroom, rearrangement and improvement in the 
kitchen, and a much needed new locker room for the girls; in short, 
fundamental and far-reaching improvements are afoot. 

The new building will fill the space between the stage (south) end of the 
auditorium and the girls' gymnasium, replacing the ancient and honorable 
structure which was once the School's assembly hall-gymnasium and is 
now known as the "old, old gym." There will be a two-story structure with 
the first floor level matching that of the present lunchroom and the scenery 
room under the stage. The second floor level will be that of the stage. 

It is entirely appropriate that we should, at long last, be providing the arts 
with the facilities they deserve. North Shore was one of the schools to 
recognize long ago the importance of experience in art, music, drama and 
shop as an important facet of education. These experiences were removed 
from the list of extras and made a requirement for graduation from the 
School. Today there are few, if any, schools whose commitment to the 
teaching of the arts is as well developed or as extensively demonstrated as 
it is here. 


I find it very difficult and a little bit embarrassing to try to put into words 
the nature and the value of experience in the arts. One can see the bright 
light in the eye of a child more readily than one can describe its origin, and 
perhaps it is good enough to recognize and to treasure the spark. We know 
that sometimes voices blend to set the spine atingle, and we know that 
there is a level of excitement offered to performing musicians somewhat 
greater than that provided for those who sit in the audience. Perhaps we 
should be content with the observation that mankind can be aroused to a 
high pitch of enjoyment in the creation of the beautiful. 

And so, with the hope that more children will discover in themselves a 
lively response to the beautiful, we undertake to provide a new arts center. 
Confident that the job will soon be under way, I should like to set before the 
parents some difficulties we must meet. First, there will be a job of 
demolition to be completed before the new work can be started. The old 
smokestack, the "old, old gym" with its antiquated locker rooms, the old 
boiler room, and the janitor's cottage [located at the south end of the 
campus near the entry to the upper school parking lot] must be removed 
and trucked away as rubble. This will probably take some twenty working 
days of a wrecking crew, during which time there will be a substantial 
interruption of heat and power as well as peace and quiet. One plan for 
demolition calls for interruption of heat on the second day of work. It is 
probable that we will have to get along with temporary arrangements for 
heat during the last part of the school year. Under these circumstances a 
cold, wet snow in late April or early May will provide something more than 
a challenge to frolic. 

The total time of building is unknown, but it is certainly more than can be 
comfortably bracketed between June 15th and September 15th, and so we 
face some interruption of services, which will include the loss of the use of 
our kitchen and lunchroom. No final plans resolving this problem have 
been adopted, but it now seems probable that each of us will bring his own 
lunch for a substantial part of the spring term. Some thought has been 
given to temporary kitchens and to food which could be trucked in from 
outside, but I have a suspicion that it would be considerably more 
economical — and probably good for each of us — to pack a sandwich and 
to expect from the School little more than daily fresh milk. 

Lest it appear that this building job poses a series of awesome annoyances 
and problems, I hasten to say that this is not the case. The disruption to the 
School envisioned by the building of the Arts Center is far less than that 
created by the construction of the high school building from which we were 
excluded for a time longer than one semester. I should expect it to be true 
again, as it was then, that people will meet their difficulties in good spirits 
and that the morale of the School will be splendid. The rewards to be 
expected are clearly and immeasurably greater than the inconvenience we 
will endure. 


In the November 1964 Annual Report, French continued the saga of the new Arts 

In June the footings for the new buiding were being poured, and we could 
see the outline of a two story building which will do much to add to the 
School's program. This is the long awaited last building in the 
Development Program started five and a half years ago, a program which 
brings the School's plant up to the quality demanded by its educational 
purposes and aspirations. This leaves to be accomplished by this program 
the remainder of the Fund for Excellence in Teaching. 

Needless to say, a school is very much more than its property, but it can no 
longer be as simple as a log supporting a student at one end and a teacher 
at the other. It is more accurate to think of modem education as a 
relationship between students and teachers in a physical setting which may 
hamper or enhance that relationship. Our new Center for the Creative Arts 
invites great teaching. 

The dedication program for the Center of the Creative Arts (later named The 
Nathaniel French Arts Center) took place in October, 1965, and provided a 
splendid demonstration of the versatility of the building. With great pleasure 
French described what happened: 

. . . Visitors were invited to tour the gallery, explore the facilities, and to 
watch scenes from Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Henry V. These were 
presented in the outdoor patio in true Elizabethan fashion. Musicians 
played from the balcony on the upper level; actors used the stage area on 
the lower level; Elizabethan wenches hawked fruits which the outdoor 
audience was invited to toss or eat as the spirit moved them (they stayed to 
cheer with gusto). I might add that this production revealed a hitherto 
hidden asset of the current hair fashions for some of our young men. They 
are remarkably reminiscent of those of the late 16th century! 

Building and rebuilding was complete now — at least for the time being. The 
school plant had been expanded by the enlarged Dunlap Hall, by the new gym at 
the east end of the campus and by the modem new two-story Arts Center. But it 
was evident that the curriculum needed revitalization. 

Revitalizing the Curriculum 

The School moved into the sixties with a strong sense of adventure. The field of 
education was changing. There was an optimism that if teachers used new 
approaches to subject matter, the students would be eager to learn. Nat French 
also believed in bringing in an exciting spectrum of new young teachers — "a 
phenomenal group" — according to Bob Johnson '43 whose children were here at 
the time. Universities were getting involved in exploring the best ways of teaching 
various disciplines to different age levels. The teachers of North Shore were 


attending summer seminars and workshops and bringing back to the School new 
ways of teaching — in reading, in science, in mathematics, in English literature, in 
modem languages. This new perspective in education was described in the 
October 1961 Notes by Nat French: 

Nowadays school begins in September with an air of anticipation and 
excitement; almost with an air of fortunate opportunity. Teachers and 
children return to the "job" with smiling faces and an expectation of happy 
and valuable exploration. The atmosphere is reminiscent of Tom Sawyer 
and Huck Finn as they pushed their raft out into a Mississippi current 
which both boys knew to have great power. As the river moved toward the 
next bend, they felt its irresistible attraction and they were bound away to 
discover what was hidden around the bend ahead. And adventure 
followed adventure as they were swept along by the current. Thus, the 
allure of the unknown leads one on to the reward of knowledge. 

Preserving this sense of adventure is the teacher's most demanding job. 

Given this joy in unwrapping the gift of knowledge, we may be sure that 
children will take long strides ahead. The remaining task is to provide 
professional wisdom in guiding children into realms of more significant 
experience and away from preoccupation with the trivial. 

Accuracy is always a problem when one attempts to look back in time, but 
it seems clear that our School was founded in an age when children 
accepted schooling but seldom welcomed it. Academicians had defined the 
curriculum in terms of a body of knowledge which supposed a logical 
progression from step to step with a share to be covered in each successive 
year. It was reasonable that a study of prehistoric man should precede the 
study of ancient history. The logic may be sound, but thoughtful teachers 
began to admit to their thinking the observation that large percentages of 
their students seemed unimpressed with the logic; in fact, they reacted with 
boredom to subject matter they considered dry as dust. And some 
observed that those students who became most interested outdistanced 
those classmates who were equal in ability but disinterested. To questions 
of curriculum were added discussion of the principles of interest and effort 
in learning, and a few experimental schools suggested that significant 
changes could be profitably made. Teaching method became a problem as 
important as teaching material. 

It was at this point that The North Shore Country Day School was founded 
and quickly took its place among those schools dedicated to the task of 
continuing examination of course content and the development of teaching 
methods calculated to nurture in students a joy in learning, and a 
commitment to a life of active participation as responsible men and women. 
Academic standards and subject matter content changed slowly but surely, 
and they changed with a watchful eye cast in the direction of efficient 


During the past two years the faculty has devoted many hours to a 
thorough examination of the curriculum and this fall will complete a long 
and painstaking study. While it will be some time before we can assess the 
full impact of this work, there are some points which begin to come clear. 
Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that we lean heavily on research done 
in universities and on pilot projects developed in other schools. For 
instance, our physics course developed over several years out of work 
which began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the 
leadership of Professor Zacharias and, with the support of many thousands 
of foundation dollars, became a nationwide study of what should go into a 
contemporary physics course and how this material might best be taught. 
We have been watching for several years the proposed revision of high 
school chemistry teaching coming from such diverse places as the 
University of California at Los Angeles, Earlham College in Indiana, 

Kenyon in Ohio and Brown in Rhode Island. Revision of our own course 
begins this year with changes which have been suggested by university 
scientists and tried in pilot studies in secondary schools. 

While our language study has long depended heavily on the spoken word, 
we have been watching the use of electronic equipment designed to 
increase the amount of time a student devotes to speaking and to listening, 
and we have been experimenting with the use of tape recorders in our own 

The teaching of mathematics to lower, middle, and upper school students 
has been questioned repeatedly since World War II, and work in this area 
was brought to focus by a more recent College Entrance Examination Board 
Commission on Mathematics. Today a group of university and school 
projects across the country feeds the efforts to make wise revisions, and we 
have found ourselves leaning heavily on the Carnegie Foundation 
supported work at the University of Illinois, both for revisions which have 
taken place in our lower school math teaching and in a new approach to 
mathematics in the upper school. 

Some ten years ago the first steps were taken at a Kenyon College 
conference to formalize a College Board sponsored program through which 
students can complete and gain credit for college level work done in high 
school [The Advanced Placement Program]. Last May ten of our seniors in 
a graduating class of thirty-four took fourteen examinations to test college 
level work done here at school. A newly established commission on the 
teaching of English has begun its task of analysis, and we expect in the next 
few months to have recommendations from them. Thus the job of 
professional teaching is increasingly dependent upon work done outside 
one's own ivory tower. 

While it would be a mistake to believe that revisions made in course content 
have neglected considerations of teaching method and materials, it remains 
true that this is an area in which there is at least as much speculation as 


there is knowledge. Sociologists, anthropologists, biologists, psychologists 
and others continually push out the horizons of knowledge about the 
human being, but it remains true today that we enjoy the romantic tale of 
two boys on a raft floating down the Mississippi without knowing quite 
why this enchants us. We know that some very good students are easily 
aroused to intellectual effort, and we know that others of comparable 
ability appear to have established impregnable barriers against all efforts to 
entice them into the intellectual arena. This may be, then, the area of our 
greatest challenge. 

Should this be so, we are, as a school, in a good position to bend our efforts 
in this direction. The belief that efficiency in learning is a product of 
student interest was one of the planks in the initial platform of the School's 
founders. We have always avoided prizes lest the prize become the goal, 
and we have mistrusted honor rolls for the same reason. It is easy enough 
for all of us to agree that a student's real "motivation" is a basic 
consideration. It remains for us to discover what elements combine in what 
proportions to produce "good motivation." 

The Reading Program 

As important as the higher academic courses were, one of the most encouraging 
developments in the late fifties was the Gillingham Reading Program which had 
been instituted in the lower school under first grade teacher Mrs. Evelyn Kratz 
[1942-53, 1954-69], 

When Mrs. Kratz left in 1969, Janet Rogers '43 [1967-86] took over the Gillingham 
program for the next twenty years, teaching several generations of young children 
the joy of reading. 

Middle School Social Studies 

Middle school social studies, from 1959 until 1964, was taught by Joseph Nold, an 
amateur mountain climber and cartographer from Saskatchewan, Canada. 
Following his graduation from the University of British Columbia, he spent several 
years teaching overseas and climbing mountains. During that time he came into 
contact with die British Outward Bound movement and taught for a year at the 
Gordonstoun School in Scotland and later at the Dera Dun School in India where 
he hiked and climbed with students in the foothills of the Himalayas. 

Somehow he ended up teaching at The North Shore Country Day School in the fall 
of 1959. During his first summer here in 1960, he and his five-months-pregnant 
wife Andrea took four North Shore upper school students (Bob Strong Jr. '60, 
Harley Hutchins Jr. '60, John Strong '62, and Wally Pugh '63) on a summer hiking 
and mountain climbing trip to Peru. Bob Strong discovered a human skull in a 
burial place in the mountains of Peru and brought it back with him, much to his 
later adult chagrin. But rather than cause an international incident by returning the 
skull to Peru several decades later, he lent it to the social studies department at 


North Shore when his own son Patrick '87 became a freshman anthropology 

But back to Joe Nold: he may have never used the term "progressive" to describe 
his method of teaching because in those days it had negative connotations for 
many people, but he was certainly imbued with the progressive philosophy as 
becomes evident in his description of the so-called new "concept approach," which 
he described in the May 1962 Notes: 

. . . The teacher who is guided by the concept approach to teaching is 
problem-oriented in his thinking. 

The sixth grade social studies curriculum began as a study of Africa and 
Asia and has gradually evolved into a study of primitive societies and early 
civilizations. This choice certainly reflected the teacher's interest, 
background, and conviction, but it also is subject matter suitable for the age 
level. It fits in with Whitehead's "stage of romance." This age child, still in 
the "gang" stage himself, is psychologically attuned to a study of primitive 
societies. One school of thought has seriously contended that he is not too 
far removed from it himself! The basic concepts are geographic: the effects 
of climate, terrain, and location on patterns of life, food supply, shelter, and 
clothing. The concept list covers these ideas with the statement: 

"The need for food is basic to all human life. Clothing and shelter, although 
less basic, are fundamental to social development. Provision for material 
needs is affected by natural environment." From a study of the Eskimo, the 
Berbers, and the Kalihari Bushmen, the sixth grader can come to an 
appreciation of the concept that natural environment "may restrict the use 
of the available materials, as in the case of hardship conditions such as 
severe climate." So far, there is little that is new. This material has been 
used by teachers of geography at this age level for years. What is perhaps 
different, though, is that at the end of the year we can have a test on the 
geographic concepts learned in which we approach an imaginary land mass 
where the location of mountain ranges, rivers, deserts, river valleys, 
resources, et cetera are given, and we work out a set of hypothetical 
problems related to different patterns of life. 

. . . We study the progressive evolution of man from the hunter-gatherer 
(Pygmies), to the herder (Zulus), to the primitive farmer (Pueblo Indians), 
to the stage where man develops early river civilizations (Egypt, India). 

Here we are stressing, albeit indirectly, another concept: the natural 
environment "may stimulate improved technology or more efficient 
productive organization." 

Concepts pertaining to spiritual and aesthetic needs are, of course, the most 
difficult for the sixth grader to understand. The twelve-year-old can often 
have strong aesthetic feelings, but they are usually quite unselfconscious, 
something felt, not to be explained or expounded. We do contrast the Taj 


Mahal to the log cabins of Jamestown, both having been built about the 
same time, but the comparison is more in terms of the size, wealth, and 
social organization each represents, rather than in aesthetic terms. Religious 
concepts are no less baffling. Those few sixth graders who do have 
religious training have not gone far beyond the recitation of their respective 
dogmas, and at this age it is probably important not to challenge or disturb 
such beliefs. But for the many, and this is certainly a large majority, who 
have no appreciation of the Bible, either Old Testament or New, from the 
point of view of a religious code or even as folklore or myth, some 
discussion of spiritual concepts is important. Through a brief study of 
primitive religion, as well as a superficial comparative study of Islam, 
Hinduism and Buddhism, the students are brought into contact with this 
area of human experience. At least they consider such concepts: 

"Individuals in groups have a need for establishing meaning for existence 
. . . and for symbols which express these meanings." 

In passing, it should be noted that history as such has little to do with the 
study. Though there is sequence, it is not chronological, or if chronological 
only so incidentally. This reflects the interest of children of this age. They 
have little sense of historical chronology or time sequence. To one bom in 
1950, even World War II has something fairly ancient about it! 

A closing note with regard to the concept approach to history and the social 
studies. Ideally, this process goes on in each grade in the School. 
Generalizations are made from the different factual material presented each 
year, with growing levels of sophistication and insight. One has what, in 
teacher's jargon, is called "a spiral curriculum," where a concept like "the 
major purpose of political organization is the security, welfare, and 
continuity of the group" would underlie a visit to the police station in the 
first grade, a study of the medieval castle and manor in the fifth grade, 
Athenian democracy in the ninth grade, and the New Deal in the senior 

One of our teachers was reported as saying, "The point of our working with 
concepts is to try to make sense out of man's past. If there is nothing to 
hold together the events of the past, to relate them, then history just 
becomes what Huxley called 'one damn thing after another' and that's all." 
(From David Mallery, Asia and Africa in the Study of History, 1962.) 

While Nold was teaching at North Shore, Nat French, one day in the fall of 1961, 
handed him a mailing from die new Outward Bound School in Colorado and 
suggested that this was something that would interest him. The director of the 
program was Chuck Froelicher, a friend of French's. The following summer Joe 
Nold was one of the first instructors Froelicher hired for the new program. The 
story of Nold's important relationship with Outward Bound was described in the 
1981 history of the movement. Outward Bound U.S.A.: Learning Through Experience 
in Adventure-Based Education (Joshua L. Miner and Joe Boldt, New York: William 
Morrow and Company, Inc.): 


. . . When Nat French asked me how the summer had gone, I told him, "I've 
been teaching for you for three years, and I really think I've done more 
teaching in the last two months than I've done in three years in the 
classroom. What excited me most was the extent to which Outward Bound 
spoke to the whole sense of being and meaning and values and purpose of 
life. That's the basic structure into which we have to fit academics. I felt 
that this was the most deeply educational involvement I'd ever had as a 
teacher with young people." 

For Nold and others like him there was something else. "A penalty of 
teaching in one of the country's finest independent day schools in that well- 
to-do suburban environment was that we young teachers felt cut off from 
the mainstream of American life. We had come into teaching with the idea 
that it was a service-oriented profession. It was the early sixties, Kennedy 
was newly in office, the national social conscience was waking, and we 
couldn't help feeling dissatisfied. At Colorado we not only had a chance to 
work with disadvantaged youngsters, but also we were able to mix kids 
from affluent families with kids from the ghetto. Part of the beauty of that 
was that the highly motivated, upper-mobility type of middle-class and rich 
kid got so much out of the social interaction. I had the feeling that Outward 
Bound was in the marketplace." 

Nold was offered the directorship of Outward Bound and resigned from North 
Shore in 1964. His concern about social consciousness was held by other faculty 
members and was expressed by the School in various ways throughout the rest of 
the decade. In 1970 Nold helped train a group of students and teachers who were 
preparing for a year-long trip around the world. 

Ninth Grade Oriental History 

Meanwhile, back on campus, the faculty was doing its best to make the curriculum 
relevant, the key idea of the sixties. The November 1964 Annual Report described 
the ninth grade oriental history course which devoted much attention to Vietnam: 

. . . They found that they needed an understanding of both Confucian and 
Communist thought. And, of course, they ran into the difficulty of finding 
objective critical comment. This whole issue was aired in two successive 
Morning Exercises, when middle and upper school history teachers 
discussed the Viet Nam problem as a question in identifying reliable 
sources of information. 

Anthropology in the Upper School 

In 1961 Professor Paul Bohannan of Northwestern University was a guest in the 
Educational Lecture Series at North Shore, and thus began a long-term personal 
and professional association with the School. By fall of 1965 his son Denis was a 
fourth grader in the lower school, and his experimental ninth grade anthropology 
course was instituted in the upper school. Bohannan's background included 


undergraduate work at the University of Arizona and Bachelor's, Master's and 
Doctoral degrees from Oxford in England where he taught for five years. Prior to 
coming to Northwestern, he taught three years at Princeton. Sharing the teaching 
responsibilities of the ninth grade course with him were two teaching assistants 
from Northwestern: Merwyn Garbarino, the first year; and Earle Carlson, the 
second two years. Dr. Bohannan described the new course in the May-June 1966 

The new ninth grade course in anthropology started as something of an 
experiment, but from the first it has proceeded as if we had known exactly 
what we were doing. Anthropology is a broad subject, with tentacles 
leading into biological science, into the other social sciences, into 
psychology and into the humanities. Anthropology can, in fact, be seen as a 
way of thinking about the world rather than as a specific subject. That way 
of thinking is based on the idea that if you have several examples of peoples 
facing the same kind of social and cultural problem, then the range of 
solutions will make each separate solution seem more vivid and will 
develop into a capacity to see ourselves, our country, and all our 
contemporaries in a more inclusive framework. 

The first part of the course this year was devoted to the study of American 
Indians. We started with a book about a California Indian who wandered 
out of the remaining wilderness in 1911, when he was about sixty years old. 
He had never before had any direct dealings with white people, and they in 
turn had thought his tribe extinct. He lived the last few years of his life in 
the University of California Museum, which was then in San Francisco. He 
learned some English and made a good adaptation. Out of this man's 
individual problems of facing the Western world on the basis of his Indian 
experience, we set a framework of what human life and human culture 
entails. We examined it more thoroughly with regard to the Kiowa Indians 
of the Plains and the Iroquois Indians of the St. Lawrence River Valley and 
the adjoining areas of New York State. We then went to Africa to examine 
the Pygmies, and then (because suitable reading material is very scarce) 
read a book of more general scope about Africa. The first quarter was 
summed up then by a statement of the principles of social and cultural 

The second quarter is taken up with the study of human evolution and 
pre-history. We examined the way in which the human creature and his 
culture evolved together, and have read about the pre-history of both the 
Old and the New Worlds. Students have, as a result, a pretty good idea of 
the ways in which the present range of human cultures developed over the 
last million years. 

In the spring quarter, coming up, we are going to study comparative 
civilizations. It seems that the invention of writing, and improvements on 
it from movable type to present day computers, have created as much of a 
revolution in human life as did learning to speak. The creation of language 


freed men from the necessity to copy everything they learned from 
somebody else and enabled them to learn in abstract situations. In a similar 
way, the invention of writing and its derivatives have made it possible for 
men to leam from a stored tradition rather than merely within given social 
relationships. The so-called "information explosion," started with the 
invention of writing, was given a considerable fillip by the invention of the 
printing press, and a still greater one by the invention of the computer and 
the television. Undoubtedly there will be further refinements that we don't 
as yet even dream about. The subject matter of the last quarter will be a 
look at the familial, economic, artistic, governmental and other institutions 
of the Japan of pre-Meji times and of the traditional Chinese culture. If time 
and reading material allow, we shall add something on the High Cultures 
of Meso- America. 

It seems that with this background, our students will be better equipped to 
go into European or Western history in their sophomore years and 
American history in their junior years in high school. Over a period of the 
next several years, we hope to be able to develop a unified approach so that 
the principles of history, anthropology, sociology, economics and political 
science can all be brought out in the context of pre-history and comparative 
civilizations, European history, American history and, of course, the events 
of our own day. 

Because the course was experimental. Dr. Bohannan invited from students and 
parents comments and suggestions to help him refine the course over the next two 
years. The major problem, the anthropology team discovered, was that they tried 
to cover too much area. The second year they dropped the material from the third 
term and expanded the first two terms to fill the year. This change proved more 
realistic and satisfactory. A comprehensive description of the three-year evolution 
of the course appeared in the American Anthropologist, June 1969, authored by the 
three teachers: Paul Bohannan, Merwyn Garbarino and Earle Carlson. The ninth 
grade anthropology course continued to evolve over the next twenty-five years and 
was taught until 1990, when geography and ancient history were brought back to 
the ninth grade curriculum. 

Vertical Themes 

Vertical themes were integrated within the social studies curriculum as a way of 
taking advantage of a school with a kindergarten through twelfth grade age span. 
An example of the way a theme might evolve over the student's school years was 
provided by the 1966 Annual Report: 

Consider, for example, the idea of freedom — a difficult one for a child to 
explore. Our junior kindergarteners approach this through the story of the 
Pilgrims as they try to understand why these people left their homeland for 
a new one. That perilous voyage and those first homes in the new world 
became so fascinating to our four-year-olds that they decided to build their 
own Mayflower and Speedwell. The Speedwell met with misfortune daily. 


but the Mayflower sailed on and was soon located next to a row of Pilgrim 
homes which saw many a scuffle but were well loved and well used for 
several weeks. The small "Pilgrims" and "Indians" planned a Thanksgiving 
feast of their own with com muffins and apple cider. 

At the same time, seventh graders worked out a dramatic expression of the 
limits which Puritans set on the concept of religious freedom in the early 
colonies. They shared these ideas with the entire School in the 
Thanksgiving Morning Exercise. 

In the upper school, supplementing the standard course in United States 
History, Mr. [John] Woodbury [upper school English and social studies 
1964-68] and Mr. [William] Steel [middle school 1947-66] conducted an 
evening seminar for seniors, entitled "The Idea of Liberty." Accompanied 
by case-study readings, this was primarily a series of discussions in political 


"Seminar" was the new in-word in the early 1960s. In 1960-61 several teachers in 
the upper school had begun offering non-credit seminars on their own time to 
interested students. Physics was among the offerings. Will Talley [1943-72] 
proposed the building of a seismograph which was a particular interest of his. Nat 
French ran a seminar devoted exclusively to American history which met on 
Thursday evenings at the headmaster's house. It started with ten enthusiastic 
members but dropped in attendance as the term wore on. A modem European 
history seminar began at mid-year and was held during fifth period on Thursdays 
under Virginia Deane [1946-69]. The only English seminar was held for five 
seniors by Michael Post [1956-63] and met twice a week in the evening. The 
objective was to read and discuss novels of the participants' choice. 

In 1964-65 a series of senior seminars was offered as a corollary to the history and 
English courses. The students attended dramatic productions, such as Macbeth and 
Beckett's Endgame, and spent time discussing them with actors following the 
presentation. During the spring term a series of seven sessions were held, one a 
week, to discuss one of seven authors — Baldwin, Camus, Golding, Hemingway, 
D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann and Steinbeck. Two or more students made 
presentations each week and led question and answer sessions for the other 
students and faculty members. 


The mathematics department, too, was searching for more effective ways of 
learning. Modem math drew attention in 1958 when, at the urging of Nat French, 
the math department investigated research on the teaching of mathematics going 
on at universities around the country. This led to the discovery and installation of 
the Cuisenaire Rods in the lower school and the University of Illinois curriculum in 
the middle and upper schools. In the late fifties and early sixties, one to three 


teachers each summer attended mathematics institutes during the summers. 
George Eldredge wrote in the 1963 Notes that: 

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to be able to take advantage 
of these institutes have become hopelessly infected with the "new math 

Underlying the enthusiasm for this new approach was the assumption that what is 
discovered is more effectively learned than what is explained. Success in teaching 
in this mode was gratifying enough to encourage its continuation. 

In September 1959, the first and second grades gave up arithmetic textbooks. The 
teachers used the Cuisenaire Rods and wrote their own materials, which they 
adjusted to the aptitude of the children in the class. This, however, was a time- 
consuming approach. By the early sixties, material was coming out of the Miquon 
School in Pennsylvania which offered a solution to the need for both quality and 
flexibility. A teacher by the name of Lore Rasmussen, recognizing that children 
mature and leam at different rates, developed work sheets which she organized in 
manila envelopes. Someone conceived the idea of grouping single pages on a pad 
and there being as many pads as pages in a book. If a book were to have 200 
pages, 200 pads of twenty sheets each would be ordered. The flexibility was 
apparent in the way the teacher could then control which pages were offered to 
which students. 

The Illinois Secondary School mathematics course was begun in the seventh grade. 
The theory, according to the Annual Report of 1963, was that "it was easier for the 
younger children to understand and work with the newer concepts than for those 
who were older." 

By 1964, it was becoming apparent that skill in computation was being sacrificed 
for attention to the structure of mathematics. In fact, this would become a national 
concern as educators began to investigate the results of modem math. 

Miss Lillian Griffin, who taught fifth grade [1921-52] did her part to make sure 
computation skills were not lost, at least up to the early fifties. One of her students 
in 1951 remembered that she and her classmates had to recite the times tables in a 
minute and a half before recess. Do it in a minute and a quarter, and one could 
have two recesses! 

By 1966 the University of Illinois College and School Mathematics program had 
extended from seventh grade into the third year of the upper school. Students 
were learning and appreciating the value of the study of logic and were facing 
more interesting and provocative number concepts. A growing number of 
students was taking Math V, a college level course. 


Geology was a new course in the upper school science curriculum, introduced and 
taught by Lorenz Aggens [business manager, science 1955-66]. Nat French 


described the course, emphasizing its "experiential" educational principles — with 
no mention of the word "progressive" — in the November 1963 Annual Report: 

A full year's course in geology is a relatively new addition to our science 
curriulum and one of increasing popularity with students. They [the 
students] constructed a table some twelve feet long, strong enough to hold 
five hundred pounds of sand. A continuous stream of water enabled them 
to simulate and observe the gradational process of moving water on valley 
formation, river bottom deposits, stream meanders and deltas. Beyond 
general knowledge of processes and geologic history, their studies taught 
them to understand and appreciate that the school grounds are situated on 
a ridge cut into a glacial moraine formed when Lake Michigan was sixty 
feet higher than it is today. A three-day field trip into the Baraboo-Devil's 
Lake area of Wisconsin provided opportunities to observe the various 
glacial and geologic phenomena of the area. 


The traditional courses in the science program continued to be updated. The new 
physics course, designed by the Physical Science Study Committee at 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was working well. In 1962 the 
chemistry course adopted the "bond approach." A year later a new and more 
demanding course in biology, developed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum 
Study, was brought into the lab at North Shore. 

The seismograph, first attempted in the 1961 physics seminar was finally built by 
the 1965-66 physics class under the direction of Will Talley [1943-72]. From the 
1966 Annual Report : 

. . . Working together, students learned how to bend, shape, fabricate and 
assemble the machine and how to tune it for sensitivity. Each student made 
his own contribution to the project; some had great manual dexterity, some, 
keen understanding of the principles involved. In the interest of truth, I 
must report that conditions in our lab are not ideal for the operation of this 
instrument. The seismograph is not intended to be set up on a cement 
floor! Thus the value in this project was in its design and construction 
rather than in its operating results. 

The lower and middle school science courses were placing increasing emphasis on 
the history of science, allowing room both for demonstration and for 
experimentation. Attempting to guard against over-simplification, the teachers 
tried to lead their students through the chain of discovery and theory from 
Aristotle through Galileo, Kepler and Newton and finally to Einstein's theory of 

Two years later, in 1966, the middle school took up what appears to be a more 
realistic project — looking at their world through individual lenses with low 
magnification. They investigated common things such as hair, rocks, salt, et cetera. 


Dissection was also an important project. What's more, this activity opened the 
way for interage interaction. The 1966 Annual Report described such activity: 

Some of our eighth grade boys have been helpful in dissecting for the fourth 
graders. In addition to its own magic, repeated experience in this kind of 
observation and experiment tends to lead these young scientists from 
faltering and faulty description to quite precise articulation of their 
observatons. "Well, look. Oh, just a second, oh yes, the shade is in between 

the ball, er the thing " The sixth grade girl who said this in September 

made the following statement in June: "Let my hands be the shade. If object 
B is on one side and person A is on the other side, will there be a shadow on 
the shade, visible to A, if. . ." 

Foreign Language Program 

Achievements in foreign languages were manifested in performances produced by 
the upper school students. Two ninth graders in 1961 wrote the play, "Aucassin 
and Nicolet," based on a thirteenth century romance. It was performed in French, 
complete with music by Vin Allison [music 1952-86]. The third-year Latin class 
that year performed scenes from "Winnie Ille Pu" for Morning Ex and later for two 
other schools. 

Tape recorders and language laboratories were introduced in the teaching of 
foreign languages in the late fifties and early sixties. During the 1962-63 school 
year, the maintenance crew built a small room into the upper floor of Dunlap Hall 
for the purpose of recording and listening to language tapes. 

Advanced study in language had come of age by 1963-64. According to the 
November 1964 Annual Report, 

For many years there had been a few who went beyond the normal level of 
secondary school work, but we now teach a college level course in French 
literature for those students who began study of the language during 
seventh and eighth grades and entered the upper school prepared for 
French II. This group reads and writes French with some facility and most 
of them can carry on a conversation in French. (All of them can chat about 
the weather or ask for and understand simple directions in French.) They 
have done a fair amount of reading and were fortunate to see a group of 
young French actors in Jean Anouilh's "L'Alouette." One of the class wrote 
an original play, "Le Chat Botte," which told the old folk tale of Puss and 
Boots in original music and dialogue. Needless to say, these people are 
particularly well-prepared for the listening test which the College Entrance 
Examination Board now offers in all modem languages. 

In 1965-66 the French and German students tried to outdo one another 
dramatically: all thiry-one French IV students were involved in "The Twelve 
Dancing Princesses," an old French fairy tale, and the German students presented 
"Schneewittchen" (Snow White) in a slightly "beat" version in which the seven 
dwarfs were introduced on motorcycles and scooters. 



By 1965-66, in addition to literature and writing, the students were doing more 
active work with drama and oral interpretation, attempting to develop critical 
awareness by performance as well as analysis. A cinematography project was also 
set up. The students conceived and wrote the script and applied for funds from the 
School to produce it. 

Visual Studies 

The ninth grade English course gave up five weeks to the art department to 
introduce "visual studies" in 1966-67, which was supported by a grant from an 
unnamed benefactor. The instructors introduced the students to a series of visual 
worlds — color, shape, texture and space — by a series of experiential exercises. 

For instance, in exploring the concept of space, the students were taken to a 
number of areas such as the athletic field, the auditorium, the activities room, a 
classroom, and a broom closet, and invited to reexamine their concept of space. 

The purpose was to break down trite definitions of reality. The student 
enthusiastically recommended repeating the course in the future, but die funding 
was not renewed. 


The 1964 Annual Report reported that a three-year count of the number of upper 
school art majors ran successively from nine in 1961-62 to fourteen in 1962-63 to 
twenty-seven in 1963-64. 

The increase in the enrollment in the art program and the experimental work in 
Albers' color studies were due to the new art teacher, John Almquist [1962- 
present], whom Nat French brought from New Hampshire. Almquist, a painter 
and sculptor, was educated at Yale under Joseph Albers, a German-bom painter 
and teacher on the Yale faculty from 1950 to 1960. French recalled to Almquist his 
own student days at Black Mountain College when Albers was an artist-in-resi- 
dence there. "I never understood what he was saying," French later revealed, "but 
I knew it must be profound!" 

Almquist came to North Shore in time to help with the planning of the new Arts 
Center. After teaching at old Leicester Hall during the construction period, he 
welcomed the move into the new arts center studio with its wall-to-wall windows 
stretched across both the east and the west sides of the building. A photography 
dark room was incorporated into the southwest side. Gallery space for student art 
work in the Center was a much-needed addition to the campus. The faculty sensed 
the new energy coming from that part of the campus and made a decision (spelled 
out in the 1964 Annual Report) which reflected their approval: 

We have been hampered by lack of space for art students and so have done 
less with individual work than we should like to have done. Reflecting new 
opportunities of the future, the faculty has voted a change in art 


requirements. It has been possible for a student going through the School 
to complete all requirements in the field of art during the freshman and 
sophomore years. And this had seemed to cut off development of artistic 
appreciation at the emotional-intellectual level of the sophomore — a cut- 
off point which is too early to promise continued growth. The new 
requirement makes mandatory for all seniors an art course meeting twice a 
week for one semester, and it is expected that many of them will undertake 
as a part of this course some painting, sculpture or other art work of 
their own. 

John Almquist quickly became an integral part of the North Shore experience. 
Twenty years later one alumna warned her younger brother, "Don't leave North 
Shore without taking an Almquist art course or you will have MISSED IT!" 


Sangerbund was created at Christmas time in 1964 when Vin Allison [music 
director, 1952-86] combined the A Cappella and Ensemble groups. He told later of 
Frau Karla Landau bestowing the name on the group. They sang the Christmas 
and spring concerts and then traveled to Kansas City to perform in four schools in 
one day. This was a year before Sheldon Rosenbaum [1965-83] became the resident 
pianist; and that was the year that Pirates of Penzance came off without a hitch 
despite the fact that the daughter of the music director, Vin Allison, was married 
the day of the performance, Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. The same day the 
Sergeant of Police had to fly to Boston and back for a brother's wedding, returning 
just in time to meet his first stage cue that evening. 

In 1967 the School was given a beautiful electronic organ by "a very generous 
man." Nat French wrote in the 1967 Annual Report : 

. . . We had looked at the possibility of a pipe organ and debated it long, for 
we could have purchased for less money an instrument which would have 
been first-class in its tone but limited in its range. It seemed important to 
explain to students that the choice of an electric organ was carefully made, 
but it seemed far more important that they should know that this gift came 
to the School as a measure of respect for a music program which has grown 
without the benefit of equipment. In short, the quality of their singing had 
earned for them the support of this magnificent instrument. 


A number of tine drama traditions were still intact. The eighth grade girls and the 
kindergarteners still presented the Halloween play at Morning Ex; the Christmas 
play was still done by the ninth grade; the senior class play, which Perry Dunlap 
Smith initiated and used to direct in the early days of fire School, was still going on. 
The production in 1961 was Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas. In 1966, instead of 
a full length play, the seniors decided to present four one-act plays. The 
following Christmas, 1966, the freshmen presented Everyman in tire Christ Church 
Chapel in Winnetka. 


What is obvious in examining the curriculum was the high priority placed on 
creativity and individuality. These elements were even more evident in 
extracurricular activities where the emphasis was placed on social service. 

Renewing the Commitment to Creativity and Individuality 

In addition to rebuilding the campus and revitalizing the curriculum, the School 
also renewed its commitment to creativity and individuality. Nat French 
recognized tine paradoxical challenge in which the faculty was engaged: "At the 
same time we are training children to live and work in an interdependent society, 
we can and should be nuturing every bit of creative individualism that 
circumstances allow." The emphasis on educating for life in an interdependent 
society took the form of service projects which demanded both creativity and 
individual initiative. 

Service Projects at School 

The ideal of service to the school community in 1960-61 was promoted in active 
and creative ways: third graders made footscrapers and placed them near the 
outside doors of the lower school to cut down on mud being tracked into the halls; 
eighth grade girls sewed bags for the lower school children for their Cuisenaire 
rods; eighth grade boys ran a store for school supplies, and the proceeds purchased 
shrubbery for landscaping around the middle school building. The Special 
Services Committee in the upper school set up a month-long campaign focused on 
food shortages around the world. They organized a special lunch, serving a Multi- 
purpose Food meal, sold to the students for three cents. The difference between 
that and what they would have paid for a regular lunch was contributed to a fund 
for food for the poor. Work Days continued to be held both in the spring and in 
the fall. All of these activities were meant to train the students in active citizenship. 
As a senior girl stated in a Girl's Athletic Association Board meeting, "It is the job 
of the Board to activate the deadwood, not prune it." 

American Field Service 

In the Annual Report of 1962 Nat French pointed with pride to the evidence of a 
sense of community responsibility, especially in die: 

. . . student council drive to reinstitute the practice of inviting a foreign 
student to join us for the year. During the years when Leicester Hall was 
used as a dormitory, we had a series of foreign students and very much 
enjoyed their presence and profited from what they could offer us in 
understanding of their own countries. But this practice was discontinued 
four years ago when Leicester became the home of art and music. Thus this 
generation of upper school students faced a problem to be met first in the 
realm of ideas and then in terms of practical considerations. Working with 
the American Field Service, they received permission to form a Chapter; 
they got the blessing of the Board of Directors in the form of scholarship for 


the student, and they committed themselves to raise the sum of $650.00 
toward his expenses. Efforts to raise the money displayed a remarkable 
ingenuity and included a village-wide drive to empty people's basements 
of bottles bearing a refund value, a day-long car wash and a Chinese 
auction at which they sold a dinner and seminar for four, contributed by 
Miss Deane; a hand-knit sweater, contributed by Mrs. Talley; the typing of 
a term paper, contributed by Mrs. Roberts; the services of four students 
who pledged themselves to act as slaves for a day, et cetera. (At the time of 
this writing [1962] we are enjoying the presence of Saran Achria from 
Karachi, Pakistan.) 

In the spring of 1964, the American Field Service selected by competition one of the 
North Shore students to go to Japan. In 1966 a North Shore student spent a sum- 
mer in Denmark as the first member of the AFS exchange program for students 
from the United States. 

Reaching Beyond the Campus 

Nat French in the 1964 Annual Report expressed the philosophy of the School in 
relation to the world: 

We expect to help youngsters understand the world's problems, but we 
want to do more than to provide them with tools of critical analysis. We 
want them to become active participants, and to this end the School as a 
community asks of its students a continuing effort to meet and solve its 
communal problems. Beyond this, we hope they will continue to find ways 
to contribute to the larger community. . . 

Lower School Reaches Out to Alaska 

Before the year was out, most of the lower school came to feel a friendship with 
children in Point Hope, Alaska, a relationship which grew from an exchange of 
pictures, letters and tapes of recorded songs. 

The teacher of the third grade, Nancy Fairbanks [1962-64], had spent the summer 
of 1963 in the Eskimo village of Point Hope, located 130 miles above the Arctic 
Circle. She brought stories of her Alaskan adventures back to the classroom, and, 
in preparation for the Christmas of 1963, the whole lower school participated in 
making a tape recording of the "Story of Silent Night" to send to Point Hope. 
Accompanying the tape were ninety mimeographed song books, introduced by the 
third grade and illustrated by the fifth. 

The Shattering of Camelot 

There were other elements, however, besides pedagogical idealism which 
strengthened the commitment to involvement with the world at large. The 
assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963 brought the reality of national 


turbulence to the heart of the school community. If any of the North Shore 
constituencies had been tempted to find a haven from the rest of the world on the 
lovely green campus of an elite prep school, that dream was shattered — if not 
forever, at least for the rest of the decade — by the national events set in motion on 
that grey November day. 

A sixth grader at the time, Laurie Lipman 70, remembers coming in to lunch that 
day and someone yelling, "Booth shot Lincoln! Booth shot Kennedy!" She recalls 
what happened next: 

Mr. Schulze [1964-66] came in and disciplined the boys in the hallway and 
said, "The president has been shot. This is serious business, and I don't 
want to hear any of you say that again." 

Then as we went back to our homeroom on the ground floor, we saw the 
TV in Mr. Eldredge's office, and everyone felt awful because Kennedy was 
our hero. Afterwards we talked about it in social studies with Mr. Schulze, 
who was an activist. We talked about it a lot. 

Bill Hinchliff '64 [alumni coordinator 1990-93], who was a senior that year, 

... it was a grey day. We talked about the symbolism. We were in the 
cafeteria. The history teacher, June Sochen, looking alarmed, was on the 
phone with the Tribune. She turned to my friend and me and said, "It's 
true. President Kennedy has been killed." The news quickly spread. I 
don't think I ever experienced anything like it. Of course, other 
assassinations followed, and it was always a shock, but not like this first 
shock. Something like this couldn't happen, not in this country, not to this 
person. Kennedy seemed to embody youth and vigor, life itself, not like 
Eisenhower who, to us, seemed old and had had a heart attack. 

The normal school routine sort of fell apart. People were wandering around 
the halls. There was an attempt at classes. I remember being called into 
Nat French's office with a classmate to talk about the situation. He wanted 
to know what we thought he ought to do. I remember later being quite 
flattered that he had consulted with us. Kids were crying. People were 
very visibly upset. I remember saying I really don't see the point in closing 
school. We might as well be here as at home. And he seemed to agree. 

School was not called off. We went through the day. We all went home 
after school still in considerable shock and sat glued to our TV's through the 
weekend. We got a call on Sunday night from the network of phoners 
saying that school was called off for Monday. I think there was a Morning 
Ex to honor him. There was some attempt to do something. I remember 
June Sochen said right after hanging up the phone, "Oh my God — Lyndon 
Johnson!" There was a very strong attachment to Kennedy, so losing him 
was a personal blow. 


Civil Rights 

At the time of the Kennedy assassination, there was a growing concern with the 
Civil Rights movement, which took the form of involvement with the inner city of 
Chicago in a variety of ways. The language used in the 1964 Annual Report to 
describe these projects mirrored the times; words such as "negro" and "slum" 
would eventually disappear, but at that time they were still part of the public 
vocabulary. The Annual Report of 1964 suggested that: 

Perhaps the best evidence of concern for others was an activity in the city 
which drew ten to fifteen seventh graders on Saturday after Saturday 
through the winter and into the spring. This group went to Project House 
on West Jackson Boulevard to join forces with children from the slum area, 
scrubbing, cleaning and painting. Following a half day of work and 
luncheon, time was set aside for singing, games and walks. 

After a seminar on civil rights held in the evening at school, a group of 
seniors decided that they wanted to know more about the city and its 
problems and volunteered their services as group leaders for activities in 
the slums of Chicago. A still further effort was made to establish a school- 
to-school relationship when a group of youngsters from the Raymond 
School, located in a stable, negro slum of Chicago brought us their version 
of My Fair Lady, entitled My Fair Eliza. Later twenty-five of our students 
went in to present for them a program of folk songs. On a professional 
level, the faculty from the Raymond School met with our faculty to discuss 
professional problems. 

Looking Within 

Faculty members began to realize that it is one thing to be involved in social service 
activity in other countries and other neighborhoods. It is quite another to evaluate 
profoundly what needs changing within one's own community. Although a 
number of the teachers were deeply concerned about the civil rights movement 
and several were activists, it was Nat French who almost single-handedly 
integrated the School, according to Virginia Deane '41 [1946-69] who had been his 
colleague in the history department. Civil rights was becoming a matter of 
conscience, and a number of the faculty members in the early sixties were working 
on open residence policies in Winnetka. In an interview twenty years later. Miss 
Deane didn't recall exactly how the details came out: 

. . . but eventually it became clear that with support, some black people 
could move into the community. It wasn't easy. One family moved into 
Kenilworth; one moved into Winnetka. Gradually, it became a little better, 
but when we accepted a black student here, there was some gnashing of 
teeth. We started in the lower school, I remember that. The idea was that if 
we began in the lower school, it would be much easier. 


George Eldredge remembers that he was head of the lower and middle schools at 
the time the first black students were admitted. There were two sisters, one in the 
middle school and one in the lower. Eldredge remembers the younger child on the 
way to Morning Ex that fall: 

. . . talking with her friends and very excited to be there and very proud that 
her sister, who was a middle schooler, was there too. And she pointed her 
sister out by identifying her as the one wearing whatever the color of her 
dress was. There was absolutely no hint of black or white. Nat was out of 
town at this point. At any rate, I was left in charge. And I was called up to 
Dunlap [Hall] to face an irate set of parents who had just caught wind of the 
fact that we had a black family in the school. I was told that either their 
admission had to be reconsidered, or this white family was going to leave. 
Well, I excused myself for a moment and went into the business office, had 
a tuition refund check written out, and took it out and gave it to them. 

They reapplied for admission about three weeks later. I lied and told them 
that I'm sorry but their space had been taken. 

Years later a letter was found in the old files of Nat French, dated October 16, 1964. 
It may or may not refer to the youngster remembered by Eldredge on her way to 
Morning Ex; no one is sure. The letter was written by a sophomore girl who was 
upset by the treatment of a friend of her little sister. 

Mr. French: 

My mother has told me of the incidents, sad and pitiful, of Tanya, a small 
third-grader. It upset me to hear some parents were preventing their 
children attending her party. Her mother called us to see if Tanya was 
wanted at Eliza's party. My mother, of course, assured her she was wanted 
as much as the other children. 

These incidents are sad and a little frightening to me. I couldn't possibly 
express all my true feelings on paper. The following is just an excerpt of a 
feeling that came to me when my mother told me of Tanya: 

One room, dined in daily 
One room, decorated gaily 
From the windows breezes blow 
Balloons and streamers slightly. 

One big cake with candles lit 

Ten pretty places for children to sit 

Ten ice creams melting slowly 

One little head bending lowly 

This little girl 8 this mom 

Wishing she was never bom 

The reason no one came she seeks 

As tears roll down her little brown cheeks. 


Thank you for reading this and I hope you understand. 

Frannie Winston ['67] 

Little Tanya left the school shortly after this incident. 

In 1965 the first black student entered the high school. F. Andre Fortune '69 
remembers his experience: 

It was during a slow walk to Morning Exercise in 1965 that Perry Dunlap 
Smith [although no longer headmaster, he was still teaching S.S. and 
coming to Morning Ex] thanked me for attending the school and asked me 
to forgive any and all who did offend, as my presence might enlighten 
some who would not venture forth into worlds outside their own. In those 
days all the "blacks" attending N.S.C.D.S. were from two families: the 
Spencers and the Fortunes. We were allowed to attend, not because we had 
markedly different backgrounds, intellectual abilities or personal 
characteristics, but conversely, because we were so very similar that 
internal "culture shock" would not occur. You see, it was P.D.S.'s 
observation that within the, so-called, "black" community there is a great 
deal of variation. In the 1950s he was able to demonstrate that there were 
"black" people who had similar lifestyles, abilities and even backgrounds. 
What he was not able to demonstrate was the price we often pay. 

The School as a whole was undergoing its own angst in the face of this cultural and 
moral revolution. Virginia Deane remembered bitter feelings in the community: 

But I don't think there was any kind of overt event. I think Nat was accused 
of using the school for social engineering. But as you well know, it's a main 
question in history: Is education supposed to perpetuate the status quo? 

Or do you expect the people who have the education to make a difference? 

. . . There has always been tension between the families who wanted the 
School to perpetuate a kind of life-style — I was talking to one of my 
ex-students last night who is a little nervous about the increasing diversity 
of the student population — and others who felt that the classical, academic 
education, the long day, the organized sports and the arts, a full education, 
would create change. 

Ginnie Deane and several other faculty members during the early sixties were 
teaching evening literacy classes at an inner-city Chicago church. At the same time 
students were also beginning to get involved in the civil rights movement. Rita 
Montgomery '65 wrote about the Students' Committee to Implement Learning in 
the June 1964 Purple and White: 

The SCIL was bom when Michael Zatroff, a New Trier junior, my mother 
and I, attended the Spring Conference of the Friends of SNCC (Student 
Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), held in Atlanta, Georgia. There we 
talked to college students from the North and South alike, who were aware 


of the problems facing Mississippi, which are typical of so many of the 

frustrations in this country This is an experimental effort to acquaint the 

people with the duties and privileges of citizenship in a democracy. It 
could become a pilot for similar private endeavors to improve the quality of 
life in other areas. 

Another mother of a North Shore student, Dora Williams, wife of Lynn Williams 
'25, presented a Morning Ex on her experience in jail resulting from her 
participation in civil rights protests. 

The 1964 senior class invited Chuck Stone, editor of the Defender, a Chicago-based 
black newspaper, to be its graduation speaker. John Almquist [art 1962-present] 
recalled that a few senior parents objected violently. One couple sat in the 
audience reading a newspaper during the graduation address with cotton very 
obviously stuffed in their ears. 

During the spring of 1965, Selma became a rallying issue for some of the faculty. 
Almquist remembers being deeply affected by the movement because a friend of 
his from New Hampshire was killed in Mississippi. When the march in Selma was 
scheduled for Monday of the week of spring break in 1965 — vacation was to start 
that Wednesday — several faculty members decided to leave early so they could 
participate in the demonstration. Three other faculty members, besides Almquist, 
were planning to go: Joe Schulze [middle school English and social studies 1964- 
66], Frank Wallace [English, assistant headmaster 1963-74] and Jack Woodbury 
[English and social studies 1964-68]. When Almquist asked for permission to leave 
early, he remembers Nat French replying, "I wish I could go with you." Later 
French called the four faculty members to the headmaster's house and told them 
that leaving early would violate their contract. Apparently the Board of Trustees 
was "up-in-arms." Almquist, Woodbury and Schulze waited until Tuesday to 
leave. They were advised to take a bus rather than drive; that would be safer; the 
situation was volatile. 

In the view of George Eldredge '41, the School fell into three groups: 

. . . Almquist representing the best of us; me representing the illiterate, the 
unknowing; and then those who really felt we just didn't have any business 
getting involved. . . Nat did defend the faculty that went down to Selma, 
and he had to do that to a pretty unhappy Board. But whereas the School 
might today take a very, open positive stance as an institution involving 
students, faculty and parents, that simply was not part of that scene at that 

From 1967-69 the School's only black faculty member was in the French Depart- 
ment. Lansine Kaba, from Mali, was finishing his masters in the East when he 
heard of the position at North Shore. He came to the Midwest to teach and 
subsequently earned his doctorate at Northwestern University's Department of 
African Studies. He remembers being treated cordially, but he is not sure whether 
that was because of his African rather than American origin. 


When Eldredge became Headmaster at the end of the decade, he tried to get black 
faculty members through the National Association of Independent Schools. On 
their staff was a black educator whose role, Eldredge remembered: 

. . . was to try to coordinate the placement of interested black teachers in 
interested white schools. I assume that he must have been swamped, and 1 
reflected on the scene at that point and said to myself, well, Eldredge, if you 
were a black teacher, where would you want to put your energy, with a 
bunch of black kids or a bunch of white kids? 

During the decades that followed integration in the School, the faculty's concern 
grew regarding the lack of minority teachers who would be positive role models 
for the growing number of minority students. Twenty years later, in 1990, there 
have been no African-American faculty members except for the brief tenure of a 
kindergarten teacher in the mid-eighties. 

Inner-City Projects 

On Saturday mornings for three years upper school students went into Chicago to 
help with renovation of a storefront church and then stayed on to tutor and play 
games with the children. Alumna, Laurie Lipman 70, remembers that, in addition 
to the school-sponsored work on Saturdays, some of her classmates would go back 
on Sundays: 

... for Rev. Ed's Sunday service and to participate in the gospel choir in his 
storefront church. I did that a few times myself. Some of the underlying 
feelings came out on Sundays that were not so overt on Saturday mornings 
when we were allegedly teaching reading class and trying to play with the 
kids. We were definitely foreigners to them. It was much more apparent 
on Sundays. Although Rev. Ed was older and a teacher and tried to include 
us and tried to put some perspective on the experience to his church 
members, kids are kids. His sons were his sons. They were just teen-aged 
boys from the West Side. Perhaps we were status symbols to them. We 
were also objects of hatred to them. So there was this mixed bag of 
underlying feelings there. The faculty members could have been more 
aware; they could have told us that things were dangerous. Everytime I 
went down, my mother would say, "Oh, how noble of you. Do you really 
have to do this? All you're going to do is get hurt." But she wouldn't say 
why or how or what happens or connect that with any of these underlying 
feelings. The girls really were at risk for being molested or raped at times, I 
think. We were lucky no one did, or if we did, maybe we don't know to 
this day because I doubt if anyone would say anything. 

Student Government 

Meanwhile, the students continued to struggle with their own internal problems of 
leadership and governance within die school. Midway through the 1964-65 year, a 
group of seniors, disgusted with what they considered the apathy of their 


schoolmates towards responsibilities of self government, engineered a coup 
d'etat which abolished the Student Council in the upper school. This led to a series 
of discussions about self-government in theory and in practice, which in turn 
fostered at least three new plans for the structure of student government. 
Eventually, as the benevolent dictator (Headmaster Nat French) became less 
benevolent and more dictatorial, the reestablishment of government under the 
leadership of the juniors was achieved. The junior leadership was strongly backed 
by some of the senior revolutionaries. 

Student government, according the the 1968 Annual Report, greatly improved: 

Perhaps in some way related to a worldwide student ferment, the Upper 
School this year has faced its conflict between freedom and authority with 
far more success than is common in our times. Led by a superb president, 
the student government has developed. . . new relationships between 
teacher and student and has cast itself in the role of a vocal adviser. In so 
doing, the students have invited the confidence of the faculty in their 
deliberations and have made some very real contributions. They are at 
work on a scheme which would allow the School to make a better 
contribution to the disadvantaged in our own metropolitan community. 

They have appeared in a faculty meeting to suggest that the degree of 
freedom offered by the faculty lacks the restraint necessary for those who 
use this freedom in a disruptive manner. They have worked with teachers 
to establish a plan which allows many more students to be free from 
compulsory study halls, a plan which, nonetheless, maintains a strictly 
proctored study hall for those who need it. 

Literary Projects 

Other ways of promoting creativity and individualism made use of alternative 
ways of learning: 

1. Creative Writing. From the 1966 Annual Bulletin: 

The lower school published a literary magazine. In the upper school a 
creative writing group started by the students was carried on through the 
spring term entirely on their own initiative. They wrote, shared and 
criticized their own poems and sketches and built up a substantial 
anthology by the end of the year. Students also started a paperback book 
shop. This was not wholly successful, but it indicated a lively interest in 
current publications. 

2. Book of the Moment. Also from the 1966 Annual Bulletin: 

Students and members of the faculty [in 1965-66] shared a new venture — 

The Book of the Moment. Every student from sixth through twelfth grade 
was invited to read Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and to attend one 
or more of a series of several Friday afternoon discussion groups designed 


Nathaniel French was the second headmaster from 1954 to 1968. 


May Day and the May Queen 
were spring traditions from 
the 20s through the 60s. 

Seniors of the class of 1969 dance around the Maypole. 


for interested readers of all ages and backgrounds. This book generated a 
fair amount of excitement, resulted in one provocative Morning Exercise, 
and became a point of reference in many classes inside and outside of the 
English department. 

From 1967 Annual Report : 

"Book of the Moment" — A year ago the faculty, in search of ways and 
means for extending the scope and depth of sense of family in the School, 
sought to increase our common readings by choosing a series of books 
which would be read within a given period of time by students and faculty 
alike. The "Book of the Moment" may be required of some but is urged on 
all and is made easily available through the School store. This year's series 
included Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, The Book of Jonah from 
the Old Testament, and Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince. Each of these 
was widely read throughout the middle and upper schools and could be 
discussed by teachers and students in the lunch room, in the locker room, 
or wherever they might meet. 

May Day 

According to the 1966 Annual Report, May Day was still an afternoon celebration 
late in the spring, followed by class picnics on the green. In traditional fashion, the 
sixth grade was still writing and producing a play about Robin Hood for the event. 
Trumpets played this year, but the traditional pony cart which used to carry the 
queen and her handmaidens didn't appear. The first graders joined in part of the 
Maypole dance with the seniors. Following the crowning of the queen, the grades 
paired off for a series of games and relays. The Report did not mention children 
coming out from Chicago to join the celebration as had been the custom for many 

May Day was still one of the spring time traditions in 1969 when Virginia Deane 
left the School. Fifteen years later, she reminisced: 

It may seem trivial, but one of the traditional events which underscores for 
me the high priority on students was that the Headmaster vacated his office 
so that the May Queen could use it as a dressing room. I realize the whole 
idea of a May Queen is controversial, and if that tradition is gone, I will not 
exactly be sorry, having suffered many years of anguish with the senior 
girls who did not make queen. But, for a few hours, the May Queen 
preempted the Headmaster's turf. 

There was another component that was very bad: beautiful school, 
wonderful country grounds, why not bring out Chicago children? That got 
to be a very Lady Bountiful feeling. Of course, you can imagine in the '60s 
that people would say, "How hypocritical are you going to be?" But some 
of us — and I had done this myself several times — had gone [into Chicago] 
and talked with those who were running the city schools and learned how 
much it meant to their students. 


There was a wonderful woman who ran a school on the North Side which 
was practically entirely black. She took me around to classroom after 
classroom and asked, "How many of you have ever gone to North Shore 
Country Day School for May Day?" And all these little hands would go up. 
But it was awful still. It was like asking, "How many of you have ever met 
the Sugar Plum Fairy?" It was just terrible! Even she was into the Lady 
Bountiful aspect. People felt very strongly that that wasn't good. The 
Polish children used to come out and do Polish dances. That was sort of fun 
because one of the ideas was a lot of dancing, you know, folk dancing. I 
think that Perry Smith thought of folk dancing, the English tradition, as the 
celebration of spring, all the historic business. Somehow it got out of hand. 
Certainly it didn't fit the time. 

May Project 

Another May event, which did fit the time was described in the 1967 Annual Report: 

. . . One effort made in this last year seems particularly pertinent to the last 
stages of secondary education. In January, the faculty asked the seniors 
[there were fifty-three] to begin to form their individual plans for freedom 
they would be given in the month of May. [There were four broad 
categories, Virginia Deane explained later: fine and performing arts, 
business and the professions, urban problems and academic inquiry.] The 
youngsters were told that at least half of the courses they were taking 
would be completed by May 1 and that they would be given the rest of the 
school year in which to spend half or more of their time on projects which 
they chose with the assistance of a tutor chosen from our faculty. 

Necessarily, some of them would continue with courses which led directly 
into college level studies in the same field, and those who were taking 
college level courses here at School in an effort to gain advanced placement 
would need to continue with these courses until Commencement. Others 
could find three-quarters or perhaps full-time for projects of their own 
choice and design. 

In the weeks between the first of February and the first of May, each senior 
chose a faculty tutor and refined his or her plan to a workable level. (This 
plan was soon named the May Project.) It was our hope that each senior 
would find this opportunity to design a part of his own education a 
valuable experience in independence and one in which he would learn to 
call upon the resources within the School as well as to reach beyond the 
immediate environment into the larger community. In fact, some did just 
this, reaching beyond the School into Chicago and as far afield as 
Appalachia and Denver. 

The variety and scope of these projects were exciting. There were students 
who devoted their time to painting, some who worked in advanced 
chemistry, and five of them produced an outstanding dance recital. A 
group put on Pirandello's Henry IV and, at the end of the performance. 


invited the audience to take part in a forty-minute critique of the play. 

Some worked in the inner city with the Chicago Mayor's Committee for 
Youth Welfare and others with the Chicago Urban Project; two worked in 
radio and television, and one devoted her time to computers. Each student 
kept a journal which was discussed from time to time with the chosen tutor 
and, at the end of the project, wrote a critique of the experience 

From a girl after a visit to the Juvenile Court: "The last case we heard 
concerned a seventeen year old girl (I could have sworn she was thirteen). 
She has a seven-month-old baby and had a miscarriage in April, both out of 
wedlock. She was living with her grandmother because her mother was in 
a mental institution. I guess she was charged with running away or 
something. This was the kind of thing I had read about but never really 
understood. Now I know it is true and it is tragic." (This student and one 
other senior girl continued their work in Headstart during the summer as 
Vista Associates. They received special awards at Chicago Vista ceremonies 
in August.) 

In the words of the senior boy who spoke at Commencement: "The May 
Project this year enabled the senior to concentrate his efforts in a single field 
that interested him most. Many students were able to put theories 
developed in class into practice for the first time by working in depressed 
areas in the city; another group held seminars on reading they themselves 
chose as an extension of classroom learning. . ." 

From a faculty point of view, the May Project was a logical extension of our 
conviction that our best efforts must be bent in the direction of the 
development of a free, independent and competent adult. 

Laurie Lipman 70 remembers her zest for the idea: 

May Project was great. You looked forward to it. I thought all year about 
what I was going to do. You see, I had participated in Urban Gateways, 
where I had been a camp counselor for two years. I knew one of the 
founders of the program and asked him to tie me up with a housing 
development along Martin Luther King Drive, that was supposed to cross 
all economic lines — part of the Model Cities Program and of the thinking 
that was coming out of the University of Chicago at that time. 

I came and taught English in the public school there. I had fourth graders 
and wanted to help give the children words for things. I used tape 
recorders a lot and helped the children tell stories, to talk about things that 
happened. It was an interracial class. There was a little boy in the class who 
lived with a mother who was probably mentally ill, or something terrible 
had happened to her. They lived in a studio apartment, and he came in the 
same clothes every day, and he didn't talk and he didn't read. I helped him 
make something for Mother's Day — this was in May — and the next day 
he came in new clothes. It was the strangest thing. All the teachers were 


talking about it. They couldn't figure out what happened. The teachers had 
all worked with him, giving him a lot of individual attention. I still have 
tapes from this class. 

There was a boy who had hydrocephalus. His head was misshapen, and he 
was called the "big-headed boy." One of my techniques for story-telling 
was to go around the room and have someone start a story. Someone made 
fun of him, calling him the "big-headed boy." He came into the story, and 
we talked about it. I tried to give him words for what happens when you're 
handicapped. I pointed out how "You're still one of the smart boys in the 
class, aren't you?" Some of the kids that picked on him sometimes didn't 
get as good grades. I tried to point out things like that and give him words 
through story telling. 

I remember playing these tapes for all my fellow seniors when we were 
showing senior projects. The drama teacher came up to me and said, "I 
didn't know you were doing that for senior project." I was also 
participating in" The Crucible," the role of Abigail. He thought that was 
my senior project. So there was a looseness to the program that wasn't 
good, a lack of direction. Clearly some seniors were taking a vacation and 
not doing much. Mr. Osberg [math 1965-78] was my adviser for my inner- 
cities project, and Mr. Newman [English and drama 1965-70] thought he 
was my adviser for participating in "The Crucible." And I was just doing 
that for fun at night. I was terribly hurt by Mr. Newman's comment. What 
did they think I was doing — wasting my time? 

The teaching was my senior project. I worked very hard on it. I had to 
leave the house every morning by 7 a.m. to beat the traffic down to the 
south side. I would wait in my car in the parking lot because I was afraid to 
get out until the school opened. Then I'd wait by myself in the school for 
classes to start at 9:00. I would prepare during that time, but I was alone 
and afraid in this neighborhood. 

I used to memorize my lines for "The Crucible" on my way down in the car. 
I used a tape recorder. I'd talk in the lines and then leave a space for mine. 
As I was mouthing my lines one morning, some man in the car in front of 
me thought I was flirting with him. I had a hard time losing him. Here I 
was, being good, and someone thought I was being bad. And I didn't know 
how to talk about that, even to my mother. 

There was a lack of direction in those days, and I think it reflected the 
youth of the faculty and their effort to be free, to experiment with open 
education in a way they didn't understand, even though they had read 
about and had known structure from their own experience. Perhaps they 
were all working without it now as well. What's the balance between 
structure and lack of structure? Where does structure breed responsibility 
and where does it hinder people from moving on in their own direction? 
With the May Project, I certainly wouldn't have gotten much out of one 


week, but one month was too long. It dragged on and on, and our class fell 
apart before graduation. People who would have done things together, 
didn't. Social cruelties became more cruel. 

So the May Project was a wonderful idea which did not survive for several reasons. 
Faculty members, looking back on it later, admitted that it was too difficult to 
monitor closely. Less than conscientious students would "blow it off." The timing 
— at the end of senior year — was unfortunate, because it separated the seniors at 
precisely the time when it was important for them to be together. It also upset the 
spring athletic program. However, because of the validity of learning taking place 
outside of the classroom, the basic idea reappeared in 1976 when Interim Week 
was initiated. 

Additional attempts were made to experiment with the use of time in the learning 
process. In 1965-66 the experiment was the Module System. 

The Module System 

Jean Talley, who handled the scheduling of classes from 1939 until 1982, — and, in 
fact, went into hibernation for several days each year in order to work out the 
schedule — shuddered when she remembered the time the School experimented 
with the module system. The 1966 Annual Report described what they hoped to 

A reorganization of the upper school schedule into what is known as a 
module system has resulted in somewhat more flexibility in class timing 
and length. This schedule is built on twenty-minute modules which may be 
combined in a variety of patterns — the variety providing a delightful 
flexibility important to creative teaching. Some classes, especially those for 
ninth and tenth grades, still meet five times a week, but others make full 
use of the freedom inherent in the schedule. For instance, senior English 
meets once a week as a whole course for forty minutes, once a week in the 
three sections for sixty minutes. Beginning language classes have an extra 
twenty minute period for oral work once or twice a week, and we are 
testing the proposition that beginning language students would leam more 
rapidly if they meet twice a day, five days a week for twenty minute 
periods. It will be a while before we know how to make the best of this 
opportunity, but its promise is great. 

The first year the module system was tried, Steven Ober who was teaching upper 
school math [1960-70] offered to help Jean Talley deal with the mathematical 
complexities of module scheduling by introducing her to die computer. In those 
days computers were immense; only large companies could afford them. Mr. Ober 
and Mrs. Talley went to downtown Chicago at night, after work hours when the 
machine was available. Mrs. Talley remembered their feeding the information into 
the computer and then — poof! — the works blew up. That was the end of com- 
puter aid for the sixties. Jean went back to hand-scheduling; Steve went back to his 
math classes. And the module system didn't last more than a couple of years; it 
had some real problems besides the scheduling complexity. 


Sex Education 

In spite of the fact that Perry Dunlap Smith had taken personal responsibility for 
sex education from the beginning of the School, by 1966 growing concern of the 
school community brought about a committee of twenty-six parents with members 
of the faculty and consultants. They met for four consecutive Wednesday nights in 
May of that year and presented their report in the fall when the school year began. 
Granting the need for reproductive information, they were more concerned with 
attitudes than facts. The 1967 Annual Report related that: 

As the year ended, we found grounds for confidence that discussions, films 
and the generous efforts of a doctor who came to talk with older students 
had set us well on the way toward a better program of Sex Education. At 
the same time, we found that our need to extend the meaning of this term 
brought us to a conclusion that we should make an effort to offer our 
children an intellectual appreciation and understanding of the family as a 
unit of society. 

Year of the Big Snow 

The year of 1967 was not only the year of sex education but also the year of the big 
snow. From the 1967 Annual Bulletin : 

Apparently, we were the only school in the Chicago area to open after the 
big snow on January 27. Classes were impossible, but the twenty-six 
students and fourteen teachers who arrived were allowed to inscribe their 
names on Ginnie Deane's parody of Shakespeare's Henry V's St. Crispin's 
Day Speech: 

This North Shore story shall a good man teach his son 
And January 27 shall ne'er go by 
From this day until the ending of the world 
But we in it shall be remembered — 

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers 

For he to-day that trods the snow with us shall be my brother. 


During the decade of the sixties the enrollment continued to rise. For the first time 
in the history of the School the census topped 400. In 1961 it was 426, 202 girls and 
224 boys. By the year 1962-63, the School welcomed 454 students (233 boys, 221 
girls), ninety-nine of whom were children of alumni. The business office had a file 
with seventy social security numbers indicating the size of full and part-time 
faculty and staff. In the fall of 1963-64 the enrollment surged to 468 students. In 
1964-65 there were 457 students (235 boys and 222 girls) with fifty teachers. 
September of 1965 welcomed 468 students, "which fully tested even our enlarged 
facilities." The enrollment would never again be as high, at least not through 1990. 


Faculty Changes 

As the years of the sixties passed, Nat French bid good-bye to various faculty 
members because of death, retirement or moving on to other places. How does one 
thank another for his or her life? This is the dilemma French faced. 

From the 1963 Annual Report: 

. . . Lewis A. Taylor came to the School in 1925 and completed thirty-eight 
years of dedicated service to his students in June 1963. He has been and he 
remains a man of intense convictions. One does not thank a man for his life, 
but we do honor his service with congratulations and respect, and we 
accept his retirement with regret. 

From the 1964 Annual Report : 

. . . Michael St. Anthony Post, head of the English Department and Dean of 
Boys, died of cancer just as school was beginning in September. He left an 
indelible mark on his students, on his colleagues, and on the institution. 

He loved teaching as he loved life itself, and he brought to his classes an 
infectious joy in literature. As a spontaneous expression of respect and 
gratitude, his students established the Michael St. Anthony Post Memorial 
Library Fund to which people have contributed both books and money to 
be held as a permanent endowment. 

Dr. Karla Landau joined the faculty thirty-two years ago and retired in June, 
still vibrant, still vital, still caring deeply about a better world, still 
intolerant of shoddy thinking and pretension. We have all enjoyed her 
water pistols, and we will miss her intellectual energy in all our councils. 
Colleges have long recognized the preparation she gave her students, and 
she deserves much credit for their success. In this last year one received 
Bryn Mawr's highest prize in German and another won a book collector's 
prize given at Williams College for a collection of the work of Bertolt Brecht 
which he began while studying with Dr. Landau. 

In the 1966 Annual Report Nat French discussed the nature of faculty changes: 

It is always hard to know whether the institution attracts its people or, in 
fact, the people are the institution. This quandary does not cast any doubt 
on the crucial contribution of those men and women who are the heart of a 
school. It does have some bearing on the school's ability to attract new 
teachers to fill the places of those who go on to other fields. 

A count of faculty changes which summarizes the last seven years shows 
that fifty-six teachers have gone on. Seven retired or died; eleven ladies 
became pregnant; ten left at the School's advice; seven moved on because 
their husbands accepted jobs in other areas; sixteen, for graduate school or 
for other occupations; three, to accept professional advancement offered by 


other institutions, and two were here on temporary visas from other lands. 
The annual change in faculty is eighteen percent, slightly below normal 
turnover in independent schools. 

In each of the last few years we have received over one hundred fifty letters 
and calls from men and women who seek teaching positions in our School. . . 

French discontinued saying good-bye to retiring faculty members in the Annual 
Bulletin. A substantial number of teachers left during die remaining part of the 
decade with no public comment. 

Perry Dunlap Smith Dies 

The school community experienced a severe loss on February 4, 1967, the day Perry 
Dunlap Smith suffered a mortal heart attack. After his retirement as headmaster in 
1954, he had continued to reside in Winnetka and served as a professor of 
education at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His grandson, David Ingersoll '67, 
just sixteen years old at the time of his grandfather's death, recalled twenty years 
later how grief-stricken he was. Although he was living with his grandparents, he 
was just beginning to know his grandfather. As an adult David remembered: 

... I found him when he died. He had had a stroke not too long before his 
death that had caused some changes limiting his physical abilities. I found 
him slumped on my car with a light covering of snowflakes on him. He 
was wearing a blue cloth coat and hat and had been fixing the clasp on the 
garage door. I remember it required constant attention and, though he was 
certainly instructed to limit physical activity, he felt it needed attention. His 
death was described [at his memorial] as though a light were turned off. I 
was glad for that. The number of people who attended his memorial 
service amazed me. My grandmother spent over a year writing to those 
who had shared their thought of sympathy. 

I remember that he worked with a student at the school, John Ott ['27]. This 
was before my time, but I heard stories about Mr. Ott who did some of the 
first time-lapse photography, the kind you see in Disney films when a 
flower blooms in two minutes. 

Grandpa also loved Dickens, Kipling, and others. He read the Christmas 
story out loud to the school for many years. He loved the holidays. Our 
house was a temporary museum of lead figurines skating every December. 

His favorite gift was marzipan candies and chocolate. Even with a sweet 
tooth rivaled by a grown bear, he had the discipline to stay in shape. He 
thought this was important and told me many times that if you feel you 
can't live without something — give it up for a week. I learned a lot from 
his self-discipline. 


He also read aloud to us as a family. I'll never forget the books Water 
Babies and The Little Sweep. He also had a love of architecture and art. We 
went to the Art Institute often, and I never understood Greek and Roman 
style pillars! He loved to create himself. He made box kites out of silk with 
my sister Carla. He made some very neat models of Dickensian style 
coaches and buildings. 

He also had a love of whaling. I read a number of his books on the topic. I 
think he may have been the captain of a whaling ship if he had been bom 

He did a lot to keep things going around the house. I learned how to putty 
windows, replace sash cords, fix light switches, etc. from him. We raked 
leaves (and burned them in those days), mowed the lawn, clipped hedges 
together. Perhaps that's where I learned the few pieces of philosophy that 
have meant so much to me over the years. 

. . . [H]e was a very real man who made mistakes, had fears, and argued 
with his wife. He made a mark on my life and many others. My only regret 
is that I wish I had loved him more when I had the chance. 

The memorial service was held on the late afternoon of February 7, 1967 in the 
auditorium of the School as the winter sun was receding. The Sangerbund sang 
under the direction of Vin Allison. Paul Loomis '56, who had sung leads in the 
school operas and been a starter on the basketball team back in the mid-50s, 
returned to the School on this occasion to be soloist. James Darrow '67, a senior 
that year, had the honor or reading the Twenty-Third Psalm. Three major speakers 
were Nathaniel French, the present headmaster; William Comog, superintendent 
of the New Trier High Schools of Winnetka and Northfield; and Lynn Williams, 
class of '25. French reminded those who had gathered to celebrate the life of Perry 
Smith how he seized every opportunity to teach, even the humorous situations and 
words from Gilbert and Sullivan or a passage from Dickens or from his greatly 
loved mentor Francis Parker. French ended his eulogy by saying: 

One finds in Perry Smith much of Francis Parker. It is characteristic of Mr. 
Smith that he should have paid his respects to Parker throughout his many 
years of teaching at The North Shore Country Day School and at Roosevelt 
University. It is also true that those of us who have been his students found 
in him all of Francis Parker and something more — something that has to 
do with a humane and gentle humor, something that has to do with a 
humility which has denied him the embarrassment of disciples (for they 
would have embarrassed him) but earned for him the undying professional 
and personal gratitude of a multitude of men and women. 

Cornog of the New Trier system acknowledged Smith's admiration for the 
philosopher Alfred North Whitehead by sharing with the mourners a number of 
favorite quotations from Whitehead's book The Aims of Education. 


Lynn Williams '25, a high school student during the twenties, shared his memories 
of Mr. Smith in those early days: leading the singing in Morning Ex before there 
was a music director, suiting up to scrimmage with the boys on the athletic field 
because there were not enough students for a football team, leading the students 
out of the classrooms on that first dig day to clean up the campus, helping coach 
the Gilbert and Sullivan operas simply because he loved them, and inspiring his 
students by reading passages from the Bible "without a Sunday voice." Williams 
summed up his memories: 

He asked that each of us ask ourselves again and again, "Who am I?" For 
him there was no standard model of a child or of a man. Each was to make 
and to be his own model. He sought to impose nothing on us, not even 
freedom. But we knew this was what he wanted for us. 

Nat French Says Good-Bye 

Within a year of Smith's death, French himself was saying good-bye. It was a 
somewhat abrupt leave-taking. There was none of the long period of transition 
that went on at the time of Smith's retirement. In the 1968 Annual Bulletin, French 
reflected, "In writing this Annual Report, my last, I have decided to focus my 
comments on the School as a community. . ." There was no further reference to his 
leaving, no comment on what was to come or what his hopes were for the future of 
himself or of the School. At the end of that school year, he went back to New 
England, where he had come from originally, and there he became a professor of 
education at the University of Massachusetts. 

It was apparent, however, from the focus of his last Annual Report that French was 
concerned with leaving behind him a deep sense of the value of traditions in 
forming the life of a community. In the top drawer of his desk for years he had 
kept the following quotation from Stravinsky: 

Far from implying the repetition of what has been, tradition presupposes 
the reality of what endures. It appears as an heirloom, the heritage that one 
receives on condition of making it bear fruit before passing it on to one's 

Creativity and individuality are nourished by strong personal relationships within 
the context of a community, an idea that had been recognized and valued from the 
beginning of the School. In the 1968 Annual Report, French reinforced this value: 

While each of these three divisions exists for good reasons, our School has 
been very nearly unique in its devotion to the proposition that a child's 
search for his proper place in the world will be enhanced through intimate 
personal relationships with those who are younger and those who are older. 
Perhaps nothing exemplifies this better than the fact that nineteen of the 
senior boys volunteered this year to give two periods or more per week to 
the tutoring of younger chldren in the School. 


French departed from a school community which had developed a strong sense of 
service. This may or may not have been due to his influence, but he certainly 
recognized its importance. 

The Search Begins 

With the loss of both the founding head and the succeeding head in quick 
succession, the School was left a serious leadership vacuum. The search and screen 
committee was promptly set up with Francis Stanton '27 as chairman, unusually 
well-qualified because of his long-standing relation to the School, in the past as an 
alumnus and in the present as a school parent. 

A statement of guidelines for the search was put together by the committee and 
published in the form of a spiral booklet. The vision of the School articulated in the 
booklet was as follows: 

North Shore should offer a superior education to help, in general, the above 
average I.Q. children develop minds that are able to absorb, evaluate, and 
then draw their own conclusions. The desirable end result: a responsible 
individual in our society. 

According to the guidelines, the headmaster should be respected in academic 
circles, both to attract and hold excellent faculty as well as to be recognized by and 
have rapport with colleges. An additional and increasingly important qualification 
was administrative ability, a willingness to view the School as a business as well as 
an educational institution and to pay attention to fund-raising. 

Stanton also outlined six specific tasks which he held out as goals for the school: 

1. Educating in the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic in the best 
possible way. 

2. Innovation in teaching techniques. 

3. Providing special courses for children with special problems, e.g., the 
reading program. 

4. Providing special tutorial and/or academic counseling for students with 
academic problems, including advanced work for the gifted. 

5. Finding ways of helping students integrate academic knowledge with 
experiences which will lead to a more meaningful life after graduation. 

6. Instilling a strong sense of self-discipline. (In Stanton's view this was the 
weakest area.) 


The Board of Directors and faculty executive committee, recalling the search 
process fourteen years prior, realized the importance of selecting a new head from 
within the school community, someone who was intimately acquainted with the 
school philosophy and values. 

The unanimous choice was George Eldredge, a 1941 alumnus and faculty member. 
He had come to the upper school a rather reluctant freshman in 1937 on a Skokie 
scholarship, wondering what was he doing here when all his friends were going to 
New Trier. By the end of his first year, however, he knew what he was doing here 
and threw himself into school life with great zest. He earned his bachelor's degree 
at Northwestern, his masters in teaching at the Graduate Teachers College of 
Winnetka and taught several years at the Pembroke Country Day School in Kansas 
City, Missouri. In 1949 he returned to North Shore and was duly initiated by 
serving two years as a Leicester Hall master during its dormitory period. A 
specialist in teaching math at the middle school level, he led the movement for the 
use of Cuisenaire Rods for instruction in the lower grades. By 1957 he was head of 
lower and middle schools. 

Because Eldredge's first love was teaching, he was not at all eager to take on the 
headmastership. In deference to his reluctance, he was named temporary head in 
1968-69 but was prevailed upon to become permanent head in 1969. 

Eldredge came to the helm at the height of the student protest movement. Long 
hair, jeans, sit-ins, rock concerts, Vietnam protests, the youth counterculture, all 
pointed to a very different type of student. And these changes, in turn, were 
bound to affect the philosophy of the School as it neared the end of the sixties and 
moved into the seventies. 


George Eldredge was the third headmaster from 1968-1973. 


THE SEVENTIES: Student Involvement 

In response to the changes in the style of life and in the 
cultural and social values of the youngsters we teach, 
the School has sponsored a shift in the 
parent-teacher-student triangle — from authority to reasonableness; 
from announcing policy to working out policy together; 
from functioning as professionals with the sole authority to create curriculum 
to enlisting student support in this effort; 
and from presenting a single English IV to offering the course 
in nine different sections, of which any student may choose three. 

Schools, perhaps more than any institutions in the country, 
must integrate and organize the disparities which exist in society 
in order to make progress and succeed in their task. 

Student involvement in planning and execution 
has been an important part of our efforts in these directions, 
while we maintain a stable environment 
sufficiently ordered that the student may 
measure his growth toward adulthood. 

George Eldredge 

George Eldredge was headmaster when he wrote this statement for the March 1970 
A Report from The Headmaster. Although referring back to activities which had 
taken place in 1968 and 1969, he was speaking to a new era, the decade of the 
seventies. He described the tutorial program, which had intensified during the 
preceding year and which, twenty years later (in the late eighties), would be 
heralded by educational reformers as the innovation of the future. In 1968-69, 
Eldredge and his faculty were promoting: 

. . . opportunities for students of widely different ages to work together. A 
share of these experiences came about as a result of the tutorial program, 
which allows high schoolers to help lower or middle school children in 
academic difficulty or to work with others who might benefit by extra 
attention or an opportunity to explore a field of interest. The benefit to the 
younger child is obvious, that to the older one, is sometimes overlooked. 

Said a tenth grade boy, "You can't be their friend, even though that's what 
you'd like most — because you're part of what they are investigating and 
testing." Said an eleventh grader of his experience working with a first 
grader, "It's difficult to tell a kid how to fold a piece of paper three ways. 
Knowing how it's done is a long way from being able to communicate it. 
Following directions is a 'teacher idea.'" 

Respect for the problems of teaching, insight into the problems of learning, 
and recognition of the capabilities of children were each developed in the 
course of experiences in biology. Last spring [1968], lower schoolers 
became intrigued with the workings of the starfish. How did he breathe? 


How did he move? How did he eat? Their observation of a dried-up 
specimen provided poor answers. Happily, a group of sophomore girls was 
dissecting starfish and crayfish at this time, and an opportunity was 
provided for them to bring their work to the lower school. Each pair of lab 
partners had two or three children under its tutelage, and over an hour was 
spent examining the workings of these creatures. There were occasional 
squeals, held noses, and comments such as "Gross!" The sophomores 
returned to the high school limp and impressed. Said one, as she met the 
fresh air outside, "I didn't know anyone could ask so many questions!" 

One wonders who learned more: she or the lower schooler? 

In a variety of ways, student initiative found positive expression. Last year 
saw the culmination of the efforts of a few boys in the eleventh grade, who, 
as seventh graders, had come to the high school physics lab to "look at" the 
apparatus. As eighth graders, they made a tentative beginning in using 
some of the equipment. As freshmen, they specialized in the repair of 
radios, TV sets, intercoms and so forth. As sophomores, the boys became 
interested in amateur radio and eventually were able to earn their licenses 
and, as juniors, nearly all were radio "hams," operating their own station in 
the high school basement. They communicated by both voice and code 
with other hams near and far away. 

Laurie Lipman '70 remembers initiating the tutoring program when she was in the 
Girls' Project Association. She recalls: 

Some of the people who signed up to do it were not very good students. I 
said to him, "Mr. Eldredge, who's going to understand math better? 

Someone it comes easily to — that person can't imagine what I don't see — 
or the one who has problems with it?" I didn't realize that I won that 
argument with him until he said so at his talk at our Girls' Project 
Association at the end of the year. 

Laurie realized that not only did the School provide an opportunity to try an 
experiment like the tutoring program, but it helped the students realize their 
successes even then as high school students. She looks back now and can talk 
about ways in which the teachers elicited success from their students: 

That was one of the strengths of Barbara Foote [English 1966-70]. When you 
wrote something creative and good, she would read it to the class and say, 
"Now, this is the beginning of literature. You start writing. Start it, go 
ahead." Paul Krajovic [English 1967-74] did get us to start writing journals. 
He'd make us sit for twenty minutes, and we'd sit there and think, "What 
should I write?" And, finally, we'd write something, and he'd say, "That's 
fine. Just write." And Ernie Porps [art 1966-70] gave me a little book at the 
end of my freshman year in high school and said, "Now you draw this 
summer, just draw. I don't care what you draw. Just do it." And so, these 
"Just do it!" statements 


When I came to senior year and was studying Hamlet with Frank Wallace 
[English 1963-84], the "To be or not to be" speech of Hamlet, and I kept 
thinking, "To be or not to be?" Why is this a question? Finally, I had an 
"aha!" experience because the "just do it" versus indecision became clear, 
and I realized that the demonstration of the School helped teach me. I 
remember thinking, no wonder Hamlet doesn't understand to be or not to 
be; he is so busy not doing anything that he has nothing to judge himself 
by. And then Frank Wallace said, "That's existentialism! That's what it is." 
And I said, "Oh, that's what it is!" 

You see, these ism's were foreign to me. I didn't understand what they 
could possibly be. Some of the more sophisticated students understood 
these words. And I didn't understand what they were. Well, finally, I was 
made to see that I understood by my experience. And that's an outstanding 
point about this School: it taught by doing. It occurred in the classroom. It 
occurred by demonstration of the teachers. And it occurred by doing on 
every level. 


Teaching and learning by doing — if sometimes not the original intent — was 
certainly the result of each of the traditions of the School. Eldredge reflected, ten 
years after his tenure as headmaster, on the traditions and what they meant to the 
school community in an interview with Lorenz Aggens: 

Traditions seem . . . important because they represent roots. From them can 
spring a sense of identity with something outside of yourself — family, 
school, church, country. Without that kind of identity. . . I think that we can 
become pretty dam lonely 

Certainly some of the things that are thought of as traditions, like the 
example of the kindergartners sitting on the seniors' laps, were never 
established for any value other them geographic. As I recall, the school got 
so large that we finally could not put everyone into the auditorium at one 
time; the solution arrived at was to double up the seniors and the 
kindergartners. On top of that mechanic was the idea of the youngest kids 
and the oldest kids being together, and I suppose that idea made the 
mechanic reasonably palatable. But it probably would not have come into 
existence if we had not run out of seats. 


There were students who objected violently to the idea of the whole-School 
chorus, and I remember (probably when I was a sophomore [circa 1938]) 
that there was a crew of girls who sat on the right-hand side of the 
auditorium who took great delight in inserting into whatever the music was 
that we were singing some very modem beat (probably boogie-woogie). 


They did it with such style and stealth, that the rest of the chorus was really 
very amused by it, while the director was absolutely furious — because he 
could not identify the perpetrators. Obligatory chorus had that kind of 
negative to it, and yet, whenever we completed something, like an opera, 
and had reached the point of the final performance, there was always a 
tremendous let-down, because it was then over. It had been a lot of work, 
but it had been a lot of fun. 


[Without the experience of chorus], the kind of thing that Vin Allison [music 
director 1952-86] did for the alumni [in the winter of 1980], when everyone 
came back and sang through a flock of Gilbert and Sullivan choruses and 
some "leads" returned to do their bit on stage [would not have worked]. 
Had North Shore NOT done Gilbert and Sullivan for all those years, there 
would be no way that such a diverse audience could ever have been pulled 
together for such a participatory event. 

It used to be that virtually every high schooler was on stage for opera. 

Again, when the School got so large that you could not move all of those 
people around the stage, the mechanics really did interfere with the 
continuation of that whole School effort, and, rather than drop opera and 
go to a series of other kinds of things, the experience was modified so that 
kids of different ages and inclination did different things. This meant that 
maybe only fifty percent of the high schoolers would get on stage. But the 
effort was made to get everybody involved in some kind of direct 
contribution to opera. 

May Day 

Circumstances change, and there are traditions that need at least to be 
modified, if not eliminated. I recall the custom that we used to have of 
inviting settlement kids out to the school for May Day. That became, in 

time, a negative thing It had a very unpleasant flavor to it — 

particularly as the faculty and students became more aware of the kind of 
poverty that exists in the city, its unfairness, and the feeling of guilt that 
developed about our own affluence. 

Christmas Programs 

Another kind of tradition disappeared when I am not convinced it really 
should have. For a long period of time, different classes had very specific 
responsibilities for establishing programs of one sort or another. The art 
department's Christmas Tableaux, and the freshmen class Christmas play 
come to mind. I would argue that the continuation of the tradition of these 
responsibilities is very much to the point. The changes that were wrought 
were justified on the theory that continuing the tradition was simply too 
expensive in terms of the curriculum — that to take class time to produce 


that special program meant that you did not have class time to accomplish 
what you had set up as a teacher or department to accomplish. The 
tradition died because the course work became more important. 

Morning Ex 

It seems to me that we too easily become convinced that learning how to 
factor a trinomial is more important them getting up on the stage to 
illustrate the difference between scalene and equilateral triangles. The 
whole process of putting together the special program or the quickie 
Morning Ex appeals to me as being as educational as anything else. The 
Morning Ex has made it possible for many people to speak before a group 
who would never have had the guts to do it otherwise. 

Doctor's Line 

The "Doctor's Line" in the lower school every morning no longer takes 
place. I remember that when Nat [French] and I used to do it, and then 
when I used to do it with [Dr.] Herb Philipsbom, there always was a degree 
of grumbling about the time that went into it. When I became headmaster, 
the lower school faculty was absolutely delighted because this meant that 
they no longer had to take their kids out of the classroom, down to the 
lower school office for Doctor's Line. We [the doctor and the headmaster] 
went to the classrooms. Now, this was a savings in the classroom, I 
suppose, of maybe five minutes. And I would defy you to try to describe 
that five-minute loss as a heavy one. And I think something could be said 
very positively for the whole lower school to be gathering and going 
through the doctor's line together — another little chunk of the community 
idea. But when I left North Shore the line finally died. We had had Dr. 
Philipsbom, the school's physician and consultant, over there virtually 
every single morning of the school year. And for a guy with his kind of 
practice and responsibility at the hospital, this was an unbelievable 
contribution of time. 

From my standpoint as head of the middle and lower schools and as 
headmaster, the Doctor's Line was a magnificent way to begin the day. It 
was very valuable to me as a device that permitted me to have some kind 
of regular contact with the kids. I'm sure that the kids enjoyed it, too. As a 
matter of fact, that kind of contact permitted a kind of rapport to develop 
between me and little kids that could not have existed without it. I 
remember with great glee sitting down in the auditorium, off to the side, 
before starting Morning Ex, and sort of scrunching down in front of a lower 
school kid. This must have put my [bald] head at least on a level with his — 
perhaps even a bit lower, because he comments: "Oh! You have skin on 
top of your hair!" I suppose that a kid could have made that kind of 
comment without his having been in a Doctor's Line, but certainly the 
Doctor's Line made it easier for him to be that natural with the headmaster. 


Changing Times 

But no tradition was sacred as far as the students of the seventies were concerned. 
They questioned everything. "Relevance" was the key word. Tension regarding 
the validity of many of the traditions developed between those students and 
faculty relatively new to the School and those who had been with the School for 
many years. The changing times brought different ideas, and, with the increase of 
newer and younger faculty and their challenges of established patterns, many of 
the school traditions were dropped (the Doctor's Line in the lower school. May 
Day, the Christmas play) — or altered (a reduction of Morning Ex from five days a 
week to three and reduced participation in the opera). 

Compulsory chorus was challenged more than once. Laurie Lipman '70 

In the years of protest, I think there was some dissension among the faculty 
as to what the role of protest was. It was being discussed then and 
experimented with by people both outside of the campus as well as on. 

One of the boys led a strike here against compulsory chorus for everyone in 
high school. At chorus time he sat outside the Art Center, and one-by-one a 
lot of the guys sat down with him. And you thought. Gee, should you sit 
with him and show your support for his right to speak? Should you go to 
chorus out of respect? Should you go to chorus because you love it? I loved 
it. Did it have to be discussed Unis way? Did it have to come to a protest to 
be challenged? 

Well, Mr. Allison laid down the law, and everyone had to go to chorus, and 
there were penalties to be paid for having participated in the protest and for 
missing chorus. He kicked people out of chorus regularly, but they always 
had to come back in. It was compulsory. [Bruce Blair '69 used to notch his 
chair for everyone kicked out of chorus.] There was debate about things 
like that. But Vin Allison was respected because we knew what his limits 
were. And the boys tested them for sure with the chorus issue, but I don't 
think anyone ever lost respect for him. 

Social Awareness 

Learning by doing was foremost in all activities. It was under George Eldredge's 
auspices that students in the class of 1970 were allowed to attend the Chicago Eight 
Trial and to participate in protest demonstrations. Laurie Lipman '70 remembers 
the decisions which these situations demanded of the students: 

The first march that everyone was encouraged to participate in, a lot of 
people simply took off and went to the beach from my class. I remember 
hearing about that and going to school that day and getting a lecture from 
my history teacher on how a lot of people were taking the day off to do 
such and such of social whatever, and I remember sitting there silently 


thinking, here Chris and Susan and I — good students — were getting a 
lecture about how we weren't participating in social this and social that. 

Did he know that everyone was at the beach? It was a warm day in 
September, and since I knew that was going on and didn't have a car, I 
wasn't going to be at the mercy of getting stuck at the beach. I'm not sure 
what the other girls' reasons were. But we felt horrible. We walked out of 
that class practically in tears, getting the lecture from a teacher we liked so 
much, who had introduced us to so many ideas, but I didn't know how to 
say to him, we don't deserve this. 

When the next march came along, you had to petition to get permission to 
go. I went to this one because I felt I had missed out on the first one and 
had gotten a stem lecture. But no one else went. And when I got back to 
school, everyone said, "Oh, they want a note from you." I thought, "Oh, no, 
what did I do wrong?" I was hying to do the right thing. But I brought in 
my note, and all was well. 

There were a lot of discrepancies in these times. What was public and what 
was private . . . what was acceptable and what was unacceptable ... all of 
this was changing. A female classmate tried to wear pants to school our 
senior year. She got sent home. Another girl got sent home for wearing a 
mini-skirt that was too short. This was 1970. We still wore stockings; we 
still wore bras. I once wore a tie to school. Finally, I think, by the end of 
senior year, the senior girls were allowed to wear pants to school, like it was 
a big deal. It was a self-conscious thing you did. It made a statement. 

I remember wearing the tie to school in sophomore year. Someone else had 
tried to wear pants to school that year because I had worn the tie in 
response to this girl wearing pants and failing. I had a nice baby-blue skirt. 

My mother had been in school in England and had this tie. She said, "Why 
don't you wear this tie with that skirt?" So I did. And Ginny told me how 
appalling it was, and Skip told me how appalling it was — all these people 
I liked. So I never wore a tie again, and I was mortified by the experience. 

I do remember by the spring of senior year a lot of the girls wore 
bell-bottomed jeans, but it was still something you weren't supposed to do. 

Amidst the persistent and challenging questions of the old ways, new ways of 
teaching and learning continued to be explored. Engaging in service programs in 
Chicago, experimenting with the May Project, tutoring younger children in the 
lower and middle schools, all proved that learning did not have to take place in the 
classroom. But the ultimate expression of the conviction appeared in 1970-71: a 
year-long, round-the-world trip. 

The International Journey of 1970 

Virginia Deane was called shortly after she left the faculty in 1969 by several of her 
colleagues and asked how she would like to teach on the Trans-Asian Highway. 


"You're out of your mind!" she responded. But for someone imbued with the 
progressive spirit and perspective, this was the opportunity to test to the ultimate 
the ideal of experiential learning — by making a year-long, round-the-world 
journey with three colleagues and eighteen young adults just barely out of high 

The decision to combine an academic program with an international trip was not 
an official program of the School, but it did exemplify the kind of teaching and 
learning that was part of the vision of Perry Dunlap Smith. The four teachers — 
Virginia Deane [history and English 1946-69], Frank Wallace [English 1963-74], Bill 
Kelly [history 1968-70] and David Newman [English and drama 1966-70] — put 
together the syllabus and sent it out to people they knew in education; they all had 
connections in other schools. Their skills and background made them particularly 
capable of planning this kind of expedition. Virginia Deane had spent considerable 
time in Cambridge, England, and knew her way around Great Britain. Bill Kelly 
had lived and traveled for seven years in Europe. David Newman, the son of 
medical missionaries, grew up in China and Africa. 

The four agreed not to take any present high school students from North Shore but 
only those who had graduated. Some student applicants decided to make the trip 
during the year between high school and college; others were already in college 
and wanted to take a year off. 

Virginia Deane described the experience: 

We got a lot of good feed-back, particularly from prestigious colleges with 
which Frank [Wallace] and I had both worked as admissions counselors. 

They were very supportive. We decided we would need twenty kids in 
order to finance it. But then we said, well, if we get eighteen we'll go with 
it. Somewhat to our amazement, we got eighteen by the end of May and 
they came. . . . Let's see. I can't count them up now ... a third of them 
probably came from associations with The North Shore Country Day School in 
one way or another. The rest came from all over the country. 

Joe Nold, who had taught in middle school [1959-64], and his wife [Andrea, 
first grade 1959-60] — wonderful people — had left here to go and run the 
Colorado Outward Bound Program. Joe decided, as an experiment, why 
didn't we take our group and go through the Colorado Outward Bound as 
an intergenerational group and tie the Outward Bound to our bigger 
project? So, we all did the twenty-eight-day course in Colorado. The 
faculty went out two or three days ahead of time to get some training so 
that we'd be partially helpful to the staff. 

We gave the kids the option after Colorado of dropping out. We weren't 
using it as a screening device; we just said we've got to get to know each 
other quickly, to find out where the weaknesses are, where the strengths are. 
And a lot of those things came through. One girl on the trip began to look 
weaker and weaker as we went through the Colorado program, and we 


advised her to leave and she did. Meanwhile, we picked up the cousin of 
one of the kids in the program who hadn't had time to apply earlier than 
August, and even though we hadn't had him in the Outward Bound, we 
took him. So we sailed from New York at the end of August and went to 
Great Britain. 

All through the year we had been developing every contact we could 
possibly think of. And I often think if David Newman's parents hadn't 
been missionaries, we couldn't have pulled the trip off. They knew 
Presbyterians in every country there was. And we used that. Things kept 
falling in our lap. Somebody had dinner with the head of the Indian 
Ministry of Education. Then suddenly doors began to open up. 

We spent six weeks in Great Britain. We had a professor from the 
University of North Wales who was an expert on Roman antiquities and 
archeology. I think we visited every major Roman site from one end of 
Great Britain to the other. We had more Roman history than we needed, 
and we pulled in a lot of the pre-historic sites too. We had four Land- 
Rovers. The fee was set so that the kids' payment covered our basic 
expenses and the Land-Rovers. 

We didn't stay together all the way through Great Britain, but we were 
together for a bit. Then one group went off to do some hiking in Scotland, 
and the rest of us did more archeology. We all got together and went to the 
Orkneys [Islands] for three or four days for rehabilitation. 

Then we split up, and half went to the Low Countries, Germany and then 
into Russia, and then out through Iron Curtain countries and eventually to 
northern Italy. 

My group, with David Newman, went through France, Spain and into 
North Africa and across to Tunisia and then back up to northern Italy. We 
had decided we wanted to spend Christmas some place where we could be 
for quite a while and learn to know the place and have a sense of 
community before Christmas, and we decided that should be Florence, Italy. 

So, after Thanksgiving at an Episcopal retreat in the wonderful wilderness 
of the Italian Alps where we skied, we went south to Florence where we 
spent about a month. Zee and Vin Allison [director of music 1952-86] were 
on sabbatical in Germany and came down to Florence, and we had a 
wonderful evening with them. 

Then we all went to Greece. Somebody drove all the way through 
Yugoslavia and around. Some we even allowed to take a Land-Rover 
without a faculty member. How we ever allowed them to do that. I'll never 
know! They all turned up! Some went to Crete; some went to other places. 
Eventually we all gathered in Athens. And that was because we had to go 
all together across Turkey in winter. 


We couldn't go through the Arab countries because we had Jewish kids 
with us. And straight across Turkey is nothing but snow and bandits. 
Southern Turkey, which is where we would have liked to to have gone, we 
couldn't go through because of the Arab countries to the East. So we went 
through north Turkey and down into Iran. We spent some time in Iran. 
Then we split again, and one group went all the way south and up the 
Indus Valley. I was determined to see Harrapa and Monhenjo Daro. 

Others went through Afghanistan and then south. We met in Pakistan, then 
into India together, into Daramsala, one of the hill stations in India, for a 
week of rest and recuperation. Then to Nepal, Katmandu. There we sold 
the Land-Rovers, somewhat illegally, I think, but we did it. Some kids 
went on a hike. 

Two girls left at Katmandu and came home. They had been threatening to 
leave several times. We always said, if you want to go, go, but they never 
could quite bring themselves to do it till then. 

Some of us went to Bangkok; some of us went to Rangoon. We all wound 
up in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong we got back to the western culture, all the 
electronic gadgets you could possibly ever buy, for the dollar was easily 
exchanged on the open market. Hamburger stands! Some kids very rightly 
said, "You know, I think it's better to go home than to stay." We were 
cultured out! 

A number went home from Hong Kong. We had bought our tickets home 
before we left so that if anything happened we would still be able to get 

So, they began to filter home. We are now in late May, early June. I felt I 
had to stay till the bitter end, so I went on to Japan where I again 
maintained a kind of hostel base for kids who wanted to go off on 
expeditions. I was in Japan for about two weeks. Finally, the boy we had 
allowed to go to Laos turned up in Tokyo, and I said, "All right, you're safe. 
I'm going home." 

Bill Kelly was supposedly hiking with the rest of them in Hokkaido. I got 
home about the middle of June, and about three days later Bill called from 

California. (He got home too.) "Where was ?" I said, "Don't ask 

me where is. Wasn't she climbing with you?" "Well, yes, she was, 

but then she sort of went off." 

So, for about two weeks nobody knew where was! And I didn't 

know what to do about her family. (I had written everybody to say we 
miscalculated a little bit on money; here's the left-over bonus.) In response, 

I got a wonderful letter from the girl's mother saying, "Thank you so much. 
She's having the most wonderful time! She has found just the right place in 
Japan. She's going to stay for the year." 


The expedition was more than a travelogue. We were often at university 
sites where somebody would tell us about the country or give us an 
orientation. We used the U.S. Office of Information. We often met with 
representatives in our cultural embassy and councils to talk about what was 
going on, the political situation. 

We encouraged the youngsters to develop projects, particularly in the 
places where we stayed for a while. In Florence they worked on individual 
projects of one kind or another. Some took a painter or other artist; some 
took a section of the city; some took a piece of Florentine history. I gave 
some lectures on European history. David Newman gave some lectures on 
Florence. Frank Wallace talked about literature. Sometimes we read the 
same novel and then got together to talk about it. 

We stayed in schools; we were the guests of the Ministry of Youth in 
Morocco, which was very interesting. We worked in a work camp in 
Turkey, planting trees and clearing a playground, with a Turkish youth 
group. At Sindia School in India, David and I and a group were there about 
a week. I taught some classes in English, and David put together parts of 
Waiting for Godot with some of our group and some of the Indian students. 

What did our kids do all that time? They went to classes. At one point we 
stayed at Gordonstoun School in Scotland [where Joe Nold taught during 
the fifties]. I think two years later it went co-ed. We always said it was our 
influence. There we went to classes and talked with the faculty and 
exchanged experiences. In Teheran we stayed with a variety of families. 

We had a doctor with us, a young female doctor . . . which was wonderful 
. . . because smallpox was breaking out and cholera and all kinds of other 

things in some places And every now and then we would come to a 

border that wouldn't accept the innoculations that we already had and they 
would want to inject us. She could do that as well as give us some gamma 
globulin up-date every now and then. Because she was a doctor, we were 
able to get cooperation from local doctors. 

Would I ever do such a trip again? I feel very bad that we didn't do it 
again, or that we didn't somehow write it up so that somebody else could 
do it again. We were too tired. We were exhausted when we got back! Not 
so much physically; we were emotionally drained. It was much too much 
to do in ten months! We did open up a lot of contacts that would have been 
useful to other people, and it's terrible that they weren't solidified and used 

Following the year's journey, Virginia Deane joined the faculty at St. Paul's School 
in Concord, New Hampshire. David Newman and Bill Kelly also left the North 
Shore faculty. Frank Wallace returned to North Shore and became assistant 
headmaster from 1971 until 1974 when he was appointed headmaster of Colorado 


Buckminster Fuller Visits North Shore 

Meanwhile, back on campus, an era of spring arts festivals came into being in 1971 
and continued until mid-decade, much to the delight of everyone. But the high 
point was "Geodyssey," the ultimate Dionysian celebration in the spring of 1972 
when Buckminster Fuller came to Winnetka and spent two days on campus. He 
was invited by the Focus Committee, a group of parents whose goal over the years 
was to bring individuals of unusual talent or expertise to the School to enrich the 
educational experience of their children. The expectation of his visit ignited the 
NSCDS community for the entire school year with creative ideas for projects. Lew 
Davis [middle school 1966-76; fourth grade 1976-81] and his middle school classes 
studied Fuller's Dymaxion Maps. A "Geodyssey Machine" was built in the lower 
school. The upper school students took on leadership roles for other projects 
several weeks ahead of the event and described in The North Shore Country 
Days (the successor of Notes and The School Bell): 

Jim Fraerman '74 and Adair Dammann '74 appeared before Morning 
Exercise on the day after vacation [spring break] to announce the "Grand 
Prize Winners" in the Geodyssey Sweepstakes. Presenting the surprised 
winners with badges, certificates, working budgets and a kiss from Miss 
Geodyssey, the . . . co-chairmen of the Festival launched the biggest student 
participation project in their planning for Geodyssey so far. The 
"Sweepstakes" winners were fourteen captains, each given a large project 
to complete by April 30, and to be unveiled that afternoon. Each captain 
was to select during the afternoon a team of workers to help him manage 
his project. Among the projects were a Geodyssey billboard which will go 
on the east side of Green Bay Road near the School, a giant musical 
instrument to be played during the Festival, and a large geodesic dome to 
house the coffeehouse. Three of the fourteen captains were chosen from the 
middle school and selected their crews from among other middle schoolers. 
Ted Kilgore '75, a high school freshman, was given the project of 
assembling a portfolio to be published for the Festival and which will 
contain drawings and stories by lower school children. In addition to this 
project, Ted is working with the third grade in making a display of kites for 
the Festival. 

First graders are among those contributing stories, riddles and abstract 
drawings to the Lower School Geodyssey Book. They are also working on 
creating figures from straws, tinkertoys and rig-a-jigs as well as some large 
size cardboard vehicles for travel. 

One of the high school work crews appointed last Monday is called the 
"Scroungers." This group, using The Yellow Pages, has called a number of 
manufacturers in the area to describe the project of Geodyssey and to ask 
for scrap materials out of which students might build environments, 
sculpture and playgrounds. The response has been quite rewarding, the 
most dramatic single event having been the fabrication and donation by 


Precision Extrusions of Bensenville of all of the aluminum tubing for the 
dome which is to house the coffeehouse. 

One aspect of the Festival will be the availability in the Activities Room of 
building materials with which children may work at random. A number of 
sets of giant tinkertoys, two 150-pound blocks of colored foam rubber 
shapes, numerous sizes and shapes of plastic and honeycomb cardboard 
are among the materials which will be available. 

. . . The program each of the three days of Geodyssey will be divided into 
three parts: the mornings will consist of workshops in which students and 
adults work together; the afternoons will be comprised of performances 
open to the general public as well as to our students, and the evenings will 
feature some of the highlight guests and occasions of the Festival. On 
Sunday evening, Geodyssey will sponsor a performance by the North Shore 
Theater Company of Fiddler on the Roof. That performance, as well as Dr. 
Fuller's lecture on Tuesday night and the Dixieland performance [Art 
Hodes] Wednesday, are the primary basis for financial support of the 
Festival, and admission will be charged. 

Fifteen years later, Frank Loennig [math & science 1970-79] remembered: 

We took three days and we had a lot of different activities, including some 
far-out things like belly dancing and glass blowing. Some things were 
demonstrational, many were participational. Fuller's talk was in the gym. 

I think they sold 2,500 tickets to the community at large. The committee 
made a nice sum of money which they were going to use to attract others 
of reputation. 

The kids built geodesic domes. One sat out on the campus for a while. 
Everybody was supposed to be involved in the process in some way. Some 
students really got behind it and did an incredible amount of work. Great 
kids! You really have to respect kids who are willing to do that. 

Following Geodyssey, Frank Wallace recorded reactions to the experience — his 
own as well as those of the Arts Festival Committee — in the May 1972 issue of 
North Shore Country Days: 

Buckminster Fuller was described by one senior boy to a teacher as "raw 
energy" — the stuff out of which enthusiasms, projects and intellection are 
made. One of the major accomplishments of Geodyssey seems to have been 
that the entire school, faculty and students, responded to the challenge to 
do "Fullerian" thinking and designing, and that everybody wanted to have 
something to say or show to this amazing man when he came. As it turned 
out, he was quite impressed by what he saw around him and by the 
questions which students asked him. He found the students good listeners, 
too — as with Dr. Fuller one must be. 


We learned through the success of our thirty workshops that bringing in 
someone from the outside who is particularly talented provides a concrete 
focus for short-term projects and for the development of specific skills. 
Workshops in television, electronic music, enamelling, yoga, piano and film 
making will all have had lasting effect. A group of faculty and students is 
currently meeting each week to discover ways in which, in all of our areas 
of study, we might take advantage of visiting lecturers and artists. 

"Since it's been so successful to have three mornings of apprentice 
workshops," observed one teacher, "why couldn't this be done throughout 
the year from week to week and from department to department?" The 
prospect is quite exciting, one which we will follow up in all three schools. 

With the experience of Geodyssey, one is brought back to the realization 
that people leam through contact with interesting and inventive human 
beings — not by having rooms full of equipment at their disposal. Dr. 

Fuller worked with a few styrofoam balls on one occasion and a box of 
buiding sticks on another; his only other tool was his mind. I think he 
taught us all something with that example. 

The Fuller Visiting Chair was established as a result of the enthusiasm and the 
extra money generated by Geodyssey under the auspices of the Focus Series 
Committee. This was one of the few committees of die School consisting of 
students, faculty and parents and under the leadership of a parent, Phyllis 

In the following years there was an attempt to bring in Isaac Asimov, but he 
politely refused the invitation, simply saying that he did not travel. Ray Bradbury 
was also an unattainable candidate. By die end of the decade the memory of the 
Fuller Chair was gone, but another somewhat similar program would come into 
existence during die eighties, The Harold H. Hines Jr. Visiting Fellowship. 

India Arts Festival in May 1975 

Under the auspices of the Focus Committee, an India Arts Festival was coordinated 
by parent, Phyllis Handelman, who had been so active with the Fuller Festival. 
Several Morning Ex's were held in preparation. Workshops planned in Indian art 
included tiaditional tie dye and batik, geomedic designs on floor and wall with 
colored rice, weaving, puppet making, cooking, fashions and folk dance. "One 
point the committee is adament about," Mrs. Handelman made clear, "is there 
should be no festival without a visible sign of student interest and involvement." 
Apparently by this time, student interest was beginning to wane. As Frank 
Loennig pointed out, "The only way to succeed at a project like this was for 
students themselves to be willing to put out the time and effort." By the latter half 
of the decade, spring arts festivals were no longer part of the annual calendar. 


Curriculum Enrichment 

Following an evaluation of the curriculum during the 1972-73 school year, the 
upper school faculty decided to expand course offerings. Major emphasis was put 
on senior courses, all designed for a single trimester term. The Country 
Days described the selections of that year: 

In English, seniors may elect Poetry, Romantic Literature or Shakespeare. 

They may also choose writing workshops or courses in the writing of short 
stories or plays. In social studies they may select courses studying the 
American Constitution, Liberty and the Individual, Immigration, Tudor- 
Stuart England, Appalachian Studies or Psychology. Philosophy and a 
Survey of American Industry are also available. Term courses are also 
available in mathematics and the arts. For those who wish to continue a 
fourth or fifth year of French or to take a full year course in physics or 
chemistry, intensive two-term courses in those subjects are available which 
will cover the material equivalent to that which is usually done in a full 
school year. 

A New Headmaster 

In 1973 George Eldredge left North Shore. He desired to return to the classroom, 
and he did — at Roycemore School in Evanston. 

A national search was conducted, and Douglas Macdonald, the first "outside" 
headmaster in the history of the School, was brought in from Germantown Friends 
School in Philadelphia where he had been head of the upper school. Dave Osberg 
[math 1965-78, head of upper school 1970-78] was on the selection committee. 

There were several promising candidates, but he recalls that ". . . almost everyone 
was impressed with Macdonald because he really listened and seemed to care 
about what you had to say." 

A Princeton graduate and doctoral candidate at Temple University, Macdonald 
came with the kind of credentials expected by parents of the North Shore. He put 
great emphasis on independence both for teachers and students. He was 
committed to encouraging teachers to develop their own programs, to take 
advantage of their particular expertise. And he said in an interview with a 
Winnetka Talk reporter that "I've discovered that it's hard to get kids to learn 
independently because they've always been told what to do, what to study and 
what to learn." Macdonald was determined to encourage students to break out of 
what he perceived to be rigid expectations that came with affluence. 

Frank Wallace, as assistant headmaster, provided continuity during Macdonald's 
first year. In addition to the headmastership, Macdonald also assumed the 
chairmanship of the English department until Sonia Fischer [1975-78] came in 1975. 
Macdonald, however, continued to teach English courses each year during his 


tenure as headmaster. While at North Shore he completed his doctorate in 
education at Temple University. 

Enrichment Workshops 

During the 1972-73 school year, enrichment workshops were organized and taught 
both by faculty members and parents. All students of the middle and upper 
schools participated twice a week for forty-minute periods. Course selection 
included such offerings as French conversation, model building, musical 
ensembles, chess, volleyball, play writing, tennis, ping pong, bridge, etching and 
cabinet making. Students could also choose to help in the library, in the 
kindergarten or work in the lower school science room to take inventory and to 
help organize the equipment. Some of the more unusual courses included the 
Frank N. Stein Memorial Workshop, which was an anatomy workshop focusing on 
the dissection and comparison of the shark, perch, grass frog and pig embryo; 
Re-Creating Our Environment, which was an invitation to "people with ideas, 
skills in decorating and good imaginations" to "improve" the middle and upper 
school buildings; and Crocheting for Boys, which was taught by a man and open to 
boys only ("Down with female chauvinism!"). A ski cap was the first project. 

That same year upper school science and math teacher Wayne Schroderus [1967- 
1980] set up a Teaching Lab for upper school students who were interested in 
working with children and observing how they learn. The students worked as 
teaching assistants in the lower school and visited schools in the area, such as the 
Ronald Knox School in Wilmette, where they learned about Montessori techniques 
of teaching. 

Outdoor Education 

In mid-November 1973, Wallace, who had become a master at field logistics during 
the 'round-the-world trip of 1970, helped plan an outdoor trip for the sophomores. 
He described some unusual aspects of the project in the Country Days: 

On November 15 the fifty boys and girls of the sophomore class will pack 
warm clothes, candy bars and some mountaineering equipment onto pack 
frames and become the second wave of Country Day pioneers to the Merry 
Farm of Gotham, Henk Newenhouse's [school parent] farm one hour west 
of Madison, Wisconsin. They will stay at the farm for four full days of 
carefully planned program. The program, modeled in part after the 
Outward Bound programs of Andover Academy, is modified to accomplish 
aims which Mr. Newenhouse and I have worked out since last spring. 

Primary of these is that the entire farm project should encourage initiative, 
inventiveness and work by the participating students. To this end, for 
example, the sophomores have been told that they must earn the money to 
cover the costs of their program and to support their building project. 


The four "patrols" (a term borrowed from Outward Bound) from the class 
have each set about the task of financing their project. The firm rule is that 
either individually or collectively they must earn the money; none may be 
asked of parents. Neither are the participants to buy equipment except 
from their own resources; thus the patrol leaders have started a project to 
pool equipment which may be shared or loaned. 

Five faculty members will accompany the sophomores. Douglas 
Macdonald [headmaster], Roger Shipley [shop, English, managing director 
of Diller St. Theater 1969-88], Martha Madigan [art, photography 1973-78], 
and Carol Shiner [French 1971-74] will each lead a patrol through the 
program. I will push the buttons, manipulate the strings, and be at the 

School parents were encouraged to participate in two ways: by hiring students to 
do chores in their homes (they could simply call the school switchboard) and by 
loaning camping gear to the farm program. 

In the January 1974 issue of Country Days, Kathy Button 76 described the 
experience from a sophomore's perspective: 

This year, November meant more than usual to the sophomore class. It 
meant packing up our long underwear, blue jeans, flannel shirts, 
scrounging up a mess kit, pack and a down sleeping bag 

Upon arrival, we unpacked the bus and each patrol set out for its campsite. 
The first afternoon and evening were given to carrying out supplies and 

setting up camp Afterwards we all united at the bam for a group 

discussion and dinner. Then we all went up to the "Pack-Rats" campsite 
for a huge bonfire beneath the clear November sky. 

To say the least, it was a valuable experience. Everyone learned something, 
whether it be how to cook spaghetti over an open fire, how to rapelle down 
a cliff, or just how to live with the people in your patrol. The air was cold 
and our hearts warm, and that's what made our trip a success. 

Macdonald's Philosophy 

Outdoor education became very important during the seventies, because of the 
strong interest and background of several of the young faculty members, 
particularly Wallace and Shipley, but also to a great extent because of Douglas 
Macdonald's personal commitment to its value. The May 1975 issue of Country 
Days presented Macdonald's philosophy for educating young people through 
outdoor education. The article was a prelude to a May trip for twelve students and 
three faculty members including himself. This trip reinforced the connection 
between North Shore and Outward Bound once again: 


" Geodyssey " was the high point of 1972 when a group of parents brought Buckminster Fuller to the 
campus for two days. 

With springtime exuberance, the 1973 student body bursts onto the field after a Morning Exercise. 


Douglas Macdonald was the fourth headmaster from 1973-1979 , the first headmaster chosen from 
" outside " of the School 


Right now some of us at school are getting ready to go on a May trip with 
the Minnesota Outward Bound School in Ely, Minnesota. There will be 
fifteen of us, three teachers and twelve students, and we'll be out in the 
woods for ten days canoeing, rock-climbing and generally coping. We're 
doing all the predictable things to get ready: buying new boots and 
breaking them in, hopefully in time; trying on last year's clothes, and 
running. The instructors have asked us to run one to two miles, several 
days a week for the past month. For some of us the running has been, 
speaking euphemistically, uncomfortable. 

But that's just the beginning of our probable discomforts. It's bound to rain, 
probably a lot, maybe even snow, in mid-May in the Quetico. There will 
certainly be black flies, probably some woodticks, maybe even some early 
and adventurous mosquitoes and deer flies. The lakes and rivers will be 
very cold, the woods muddy, the cliffs and rope climbs scary. Some of the 
trip's purposes, and Outward Bound's as well, will be to help us learn to 
work together under adversity, to trust and respect each other more, to 
leam our own limits, and to bring all of this back to share with the rest of 
the School. 

Somehow it's easier to understand this kind of "uncomfortable" in the 
midst of one of the last great wildernesses in this country; surrounded by 
beautiful hemlocks, pines, birches and velvet mosses; listening to loons, 
migrating warblers and thrushes, maybe even a distant wolf; most of us 
would sacrifice some of our "creature comforts" for the sake of some 
emotional, perhaps mystical, gain. 

... We choose to be uncomfortable one way or another really to experience 
the woods and solitude as deeply and completely as possible. 

But how often in our everyday suburban, school, working or family lives do 
we choose to be uncomfortable, or more precisely to do things or be in 
circumstances that make us uncomfortable? A list of the possibilities is 
endless. In school how often do we deliberately choose to read the really or 
reputedly difficult book, take the particularly hard math course, pick the 
teacher that is supposed to be more demanding? How often as students do 
we choose to do a really hard, scary paper on a complex topic, get immersed 
in a demanding independent project? Or how often conversely do we take 
easy ways out, find rationalizations for cutting comers and giving up? 

It's easy to get preachy about the value of hard work, or about the good old 
days of the protestant work ethic. The other end of the spectrum, the 
workaholic or the sado-masochistic marine drill sergeant archetype, "work 
until you drop," "if it doesn't hurt it doesn't help," none of this guarantees 
us much more than coronaries and colitis. And the artificial anxieties of 
getting into the "right" college, the discomfort of striving to please teachers 
or parents with good grades, these too seem to be uncomfortable — often 
experienced — but not worth seeking for their own sake. 


What sort of discomforts should we seek then and how do we in a school 
justify programming them into our world? This week the faculty will 
attend an experiential workshop focusing on Erik Erikson's "Eight Ages of 
Man" as a way of linking our own developmental crises and experiences, 
our windows on the world, with those of our students. Out of this work 
may come new curricula, new ways of teaching, or maybe just new ways of 
feeling and perceiving ourselves. Erikson sees each stage as tom by 
tensions: trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame, intimacy vs. isolation, 
integrity vs. despair. And the transition from one stage to another is 
fraught with crises, pain, and turmoil. For Erikson the stages and the 
cataclysms that accompany them are meritorious. To avoid the discomfort, 
the uncomfortable growth, is impossible. To grow most fully the individual 
must experience the stages most fully. 

The task then for us as teachers, parents and people generally is to live with 
and in "creative discomfort"; to take on those tasks, cultivate those 
intimacies, and create or allow for our children those situations which, like 
the wilderness, help us to live life in a microcosm. Especially in a 
community as intense as ours at North Shore, we must learn to seek out 
those discomforts which most help us grow. 

Many of the faculty members during the seventies, in agreement with Macdonald 
on this subject, thought that the most effective way of seeking the discomforts to 
encourage growth, was to continue taking students to live in the outdoors. 

Sophomore Class to the Farm 

"In spring of 1976 the sophomore English classes were planning trips to the Foster 
Hannaford farm," Doug Day [English 1974-78] wrote in the May Country Days. 
(Foster Hannaford became famous in the NSCDS community for his long-standing 
relationship to the School as a parent and Board member — fifty years. Doug Day 
was his grandson.): 

. . . The tentative plan will include spending a night camping out and a day 
of seeing the farm work (including milking the cows at dawn), horsing 
around in the woods and stream, writing in a notebook thoughts and ideas 
which may have sprung from such an "out of the ordinary" learning 
experience, with a particular focus on incorporating the excitement of the 
off-beat into the everyday. We will consider our trip a "cross-cultural" 
exchange, as the cows will learn what an electric guitar is. [Doug Day 
didn't say where the guitar would be plugged in.] 


A new outdoor education program for the freshmen was set up by English and 
shop teacher Roger Shipley [1969-88], a skilled wilderness camper. He tried to 


clarify the meaning of "outdoor education" by describing the program 
PROSPECTS in the October 1976 Country Days : 

There is a myth lurking around that perhaps needs exorcism. "Outdoor 
education is primarily education about the outdoors." No. I'm not sure of 
the proper ritual involved in the exorcism rite, so perhaps a brief 
explanation will have to suffice. Better yet, an example. 

At the end of August a new program began at North Shore. This program 
calls itself PROSPECTS, uses the Hannaford farm as a major base of 
operations and is ostensibly an "outdoor education program." Twenty-four 
freshmen voluntarily attended a five day trip to the Hannaford farm along 
with four upper-classmen and four adults. The students really didn't know 
the specifics of the program when they arrived and learned them only by 
the process of participation throughout the five days. 

When they arrived they were divided into three groups and given their 
equipment: tents, charcoal grills, twine, cooking utensils, food, etc. They 
were shown their campsites by their upper classmen leaders and given time 
to get settled. They weren't told hou> to get settled; they were given time to 
get settled. They were given some instruction. The upper classmen taught 
them how to lash. They got some tips on cooking and menu planning. 

We arrived on a late Friday afternoon, and by the time we got equipment 
distributed and the groups to their sites, it was early evening. Saturday 
breakfast took a good deal of time. There were lots of things happening. 
"How long does it take to cook pancakes?" "How much charcoal do we 
use?" "Hey, Fred, get off your duff and get some water!" "Baloney to you 
fella, that's a half-mile hike." Lots of things happening. 

The adults ate meals in the campsites with the freshmen and rotated 
between campsites meal by meal. By lunch there were latrines in each 
campsite with lashed shelters to insure privacy. Some were perhaps better 
constructed than others, but every group was still improving them. "Come 
see our latrine!" "Isn't it neat?" Lots of things. 

By lunch on Saturday the groups began rotating through a planned 
program of problem solving and skill activities. Some were involved in 
service activities. A pasture on the farm was cleared of downed timber and 
old hog houses. A campfire circle was constructed. A ropes course was 
built and used. A shower was lashed together and made operational. 
Groups got instruction in the use of compasses, learned the basic trees 
native to the area and participated in any number of group activities where 
the outcome depended on how well they worked as a group. 

For dinner on Sunday I had peanut brittle made from scratch for dessert. 
"Whose turn to go for water?" "Mine." "We're almost out." "I'll help." 

Lots of things happening. 


"The problem here is to get your entire group of eight over that beam 
(about nine feet off the ground), and once over, you can't go back and help. 
"He goes first." "The last man has to be the strongest." "Don't leave me for 
last; I can't make it alone." Lots of things. 

On the ropes course a more individual type of effort was required than 
anywhere else. The PROSPECTS ropes course is a low one, and safety is 
emphasized with all members of a group participating in the safety 
program, but on the ropes it's a one-man show, almost. "Come on, you can 
make it." "Rest a minute then go on." "I can't do it!" "Sure you can, come 
on, try." "I can't. I'm coming down." "Don't worry about it. You did OK." 

"I'll try it again." "Just a little more now " Lots of applause. Lots of 

back slapping. Lots of things happening. 

Tuesday was our last full day. All three groups went through a "marathon" 
of problem solving activities based on the things they had encountered up 
to that point. There was an elaborate metaphor for the day which 
necessitated that each group carry a half-full bucket of "hydro-oxylene jade" 
(obviously green water) everywhere the group went throughout the day to 
save the people of Erohshtron who were dying of a terrible disease. The 
"jade" went with the kids when they crossed a stream on a rope; when they 
went back over the beam; when they tried to get their entire group of eight 
on a fourteen-inch diameter stump; when they got their group over an 
electric fence (a piece of twine). They had to lash a contraption to allow 
them to haul the bucket to a pulley on a rope that could not touch the 
bucket, and they had to replenish the potency of the cure with specific 
leaves from the forest. At times they spilled some, and at times they were 
rewarded with more for doing well. 

That evening all three groups gathered at the campfire circle for the first 
and last time. They sat on their handiwork while the volumes of the 
hydro-oxylene were compared. Some were particularly clean from the 
shower they had just taken. All were keenly aware of the several tons of 
lumber and wood that were neatly piled in the pasture. The talk was 
mainly of the various things they had accomplished that day. Afterward 
we ate the snacks the groups had prepared for the purpose. There were 
brownies, chocolate pie with graham cracker crust, orange bread baked in 
the orange rinds, and there was more peanut brittle. 

The first trip of the PROSPECTS program had ended except for the return 
trip home and all the work that was entailed in that. It was a program that 
happened in the outdoors. It was not the sort of thing that could happen in 
the classroom — at least not the things we did. But the things that 
happened really weren't things related to the outdoors: the friends that 
were made; the way groups worked together to accomplish something; the 
enthusiasm that was generated when they tried to do other things; the 
support they gave each other when it was most needed — on the ropes 
course for example; the real sense of pride in what they had done 


themselves, what they could see, right then, that they had done. That 
wasn't education about the outdoors. That was learning. Learning, where 
it is very effective — where you can see the results. And learning about 
very important things — like how to work together, how to get along, how 
to do things in the most efficient way. 

The reaction from the students was quite positive, and PROSPECTS is 
organizing itself for the future. The first trip was funded by the Woman's 
Board, and students and faculty are working now to raise money for future 
activities. Drop by the PROSPECTIVE GIFT SHOP at the Needlepoint 
Exhibit, and I think you'll find that tilings are still happening. 

George Williams Middle School Trip 

The middle school too had its outdoor education program. In 1978 the fall trip was 

described by Michael Tratner [middle school 1974-79] in the November 

Country Days: 

Each year a class in the middle school has gone on a camping trip in order 
to help the group become a more cohesive working community. Jean 
Pettibone [middle and lower school math 1963-79] has arranged the trips, 
and this fall she organized one for the seventh grade to go to George 
Williams College. They participated in an outdoor education program set 
up by students in the college, along with Charlotte Mars [middle and lower 
school science 1973-79] and Mike Tratner. 

Mrs. Mars taught both teachers and students to identify fossils and rocks as 

we hiked along Lake Geneva One of the activities we did, called the 

Arbetizum, was a group obstacle course, where the students had to 
accomplish certain objectives, such as getting everyone through a hanging 

tire In one group some boys tried to get through alone, failed, tried 

again, and finally were lifted through by the girls, who then lifted all the 
other boys through, then the girls, and the last girl made it on her own. The 
boys didn't recognize that the girls had done all the work until it was 
pointed out, then said they could have done it better, but admitted the girls 
were more fit than they had expected. In other groups, students started 
moaning about having large people with them, then ended up cheering 
when they succeeded in getting them through, and carried them around in 

Rowing was supposed to be an easy activity that provided some variety to 
the program. When we started there was a strong west wind blowing, and 
west of the docks were many large fiberglass sailboats that could be 
damaged by our aluminum rowboats. We rowed east, but with great 
difficulty. Some students were crying when they rowed for ten minutes 
and found they hadn't moved, and some were laughing. Most were 
cheered on by others in their boats, but a few were insulted when they 


didn't make progress, and gave up. They drifted too close to the sailboats 
and had to be rescued by motorboat. Afterwards, we had good discussions 
about how the actions and attitudes of those around you affect very 
strongly whether you could continue struggling. We tried to make 
analogies to the classroom, to supporting each other when assignments 
were tough or someone did poorly, and there was some agreement. 
Everybody could see how others felt while rowing, and recognized the 
need for support. It was harder to see such effects and needs in school, and 
some felt the teachers were pushing the morals too hard. 

Probably the best result of the trip was the realization that some kinds of 
constructive fun could be better tfian pranks. The first night we had to 
patrol the beds and act like ogres to get the students to go to sleep. The 
second night we had a campfire and a dance and told ghost stories. There 
was an argument about whether some students could listen to the Bears' 
game rather than participate, and some wanted to sneak out to do it. But at 
die end of the evening everyone agreed not to pull any pranks because they 
didn't want to mess up what was a good trip. 

An alumna of the School remembers being a seventh grader on this trip. In 
addition to the teachers' agenda, there was another drama taking place — with 
higher stakes in her eyes — a kind of subtext. It began on her first day as a new 
student that year. A more experienced classmate sidled up to her and said, "Well, 
there's something you need to know about North Shore. Everybody is either very 
smart — like me — or very rich like so-and-so." 

I was very impressed by that. Overnight I was very conscious of who the 
extremely wealthy kids were and who the middle class kids were, and they 
talked about it too. They talked about each other's houses and the cars their 
parents drove and that sort of thing. It didn't depress me or anything; I 
thought it was kind of interesting. I had never ever thought of people in 
that way before. 

The change in atmosphere, compared with my old school, was very evident. 
The grounds of the School were beautiful, like a college campus. 
Academically, it was far superior; I could tell that immediately. I was so 
surprised they were actually reading novels. And the kids talked about 
what they were reading and not whether they were pronoucing the words 
correctly. It took me awhile to adjust to not being in such a strict 
authoritarian structure. 

This seventh grader did adjust, and by spring she was sneaking into the Gilbert 
and Sullivan opera rehearsals with her best friend whose mother was working on 
costumes for the production. In a few years the young girls would themselves be 
singing in the spring operettas. 

Meanwhile, experiments in teaching and learning continued. 


Interim Week 

The idea of May Project, from the late sixties, still held possibilities, but it had to 
take on a different format. A new program called Interim Week seemed to be the 
answer and was initiated in mid-May of 1976. Carol Gaston [English 1975-79] and 
Dave Osberg [math 1965-78; head of upper school 1970-78] introduced the idea to 
the school community through the February 1976 issue of Country Days : 

. . . The week's "alternative curriculum" will make possible intensive 
courses and week-long , all-day learning experiences. Some proposed 
courses for the week's work include the following: a study/survey of 
Chicago architecture, a wildlife study trip to the Great Smokies, a dance 
workshop, a language field trip to Quebec, an auto re-building class, a 
course in the photographic essay. 

This week will provide a unique learning alternative for students and 
faculty; it is also an important opportunity for the involvement of parents 
and community in education at North Shore. 

A request was made of parents and friends within the school community for 
apprentice slots in businesses, volunteer projects and other community concerns 
for the student participants. 

The variety of projects for Interim was described in the June 1978 Country Days: 

. . . Diplomacy through the Canadian Consulate; Law and the Legal 
Processes with mock jury duty, observing local and federal systems, and the 
training of lawyers; Catchers in the Rye, a series of child development field 
trips with our kindergarten; Landscaping or (Moving Mountains on the 
North Shore); defining and building a new baseball field at school; This 
City/The Writer's Vision, where observations of city life in a hospital, 
department store, police station, newspaper and zoo are translated into 
short stories and poems; Science and Industry through five Chicago area 
research centers and production plants; Experimental Farming, raising high 
protein, low-fat cattle, farming and gardening; A Snipe Hunt, (but not 
where you stand for hours holding a sack and tapping a tree), to 
photograph, sketch, paint and write; A Behind the Scene Look at Chicago 
Business and Industry, with Jewel Foods, Armak, Johnson Products, 

Chicago Tribune, U.S. Steel, and a large bank; A Study of Chicago 
Architecture; The Art of Stage Make-up; Prospecting on the Hannaford 
Farm; A Canoe Trip on the Upper Iowa River; A Wilderness Quest of 
Backpacking in the Great Smokies, and A Kentucky Bluegrass Bicycle Trip 
taking a 350 mile route between Carbondale, Illinois and Louisville. 

The one Interim experience which continued every year thereafter, at least until 
1990, was that on Law and the Court System. It was initiated and run by two 
members of the social studies department, William Freisem [department chairman 


1974-90], a favorite European history teacher, and John Ingram [1974-present], an 
attorney, who also taught the popular Constitutional Law course for seniors. 

The Interim Program, during its first two years, took place during May. In the fall 
of 1978 a rather heated discussion of the upper school faculty made it clear that late 
spring was the least desirable time to go off-campus, the most serious reason being 
that it signaled the end of the school year to the students despite the fact that two 
more weeks of school followed Interim Week. Much better, the faculty agreed, was 
to reschedule the Interim in the fall. This would increase the opportunity for the 
learning during that week to feed back into the classroom. Carol Gaston described 
such feedback in the October 1978 Country Days: 

What is found outside the classroom comes back into it as live information 
and actual experience. When students share their own learning about law 
and prisons with an English class reading Soul on Ice there is a kind of 
teaching and understanding at work that no lecture could produce. One 
North Shore senior made this comment about his Interim experience: "It 
was, I think, a perfect expression of how education can and should be. The 
discussions we had were more intense than any I have ever experienced in 
a classroom situation. To me. Interim Week is exactly the type of thing that 
North Shore has to offer that makes it special. I think the week I spent was 
incredibly valuable to me, my thought processes and my insight to other 
people. It was the high point educationally of the year." 

Miss Gaston also pointed out ways in which the Interim Program reinforced the 
philosophy of the School: 

This leading out [implied by educere] also leads back into the school 
community when students share their week's experience informally and 
formally through Morning Ex, displays, publications and teaching in the 
middle and lower school. Last year's group project that linked upper 
schoolers with kindergartners in a week's teaching and learning program 
created not only some immediate results but also some lasting relationships 
between older and younger students. These kinds of experiences reinforce 
the values of communication and caring intrinsic in the philosophy of the 

From 1978 until at least the end of the eighties. Interim Week would be either the 
first or second week of November — determined by the athletic schedule, that 
pocket of time between the fall and winter sports seasons. 

Music Programs 

An instrumental program for the fifth grade was started in 1975 as one of the 
cooperative programs of the School and the Music Center. According to the 
February 1976 Country Days : 


This is a program giving an opportunity to . . . study flute, clarinet, French 
horn or percussion, taught by faculty members of the Music Center. Classes 
begin in February at no charge to the participants. Sixth and seventh 
graders wishing to continue this study in small groups may do so for a 
nominal fee. 

Social Issues 

Population Concerns 

Middle and upper school students were visited by the Planned Parenthood 
Association. Mary Jane Snyder, the executive director and a specialist in 
population and family planning brought a film which focused on food shortage 
and the population explosion around the world. 

. . . [T]he movie raised questions about over-population and the need for 
individual responsibility in the future to plan families wisely and 
thoughtfully. Mrs. Snyder told the students about LINKS in Northfield, a 
sex-education center, which offers individual and group counseling, 
medical services and referrals for young people up to twenty years old. All 
services are confidential. 

Race Relations 

Black students had been members of the student body for over a decade now. 
Shelley Spencer '77 came as a freshman. Her three older sisters were also alumni; 
two of them entered in lower school. It may have made a big difference 
when someone entered the School, perhaps especially a minority person. Shelley 
remembered that: 

. . . while my home life was very similar to a lot of the students — 
professional family and all — what was difficult was that there were very 
few minorities here. And then to come from a situation where it was 
primarily minority — our interests were different. Our music was different. 
Our speech was different. Things that were valued were different. I 
remember sitting out with a [white] friend on the playground and trying to 
explain this to her . . . and saying how things that were the norm no longer 
were and sort of wondering about my identity in this place, and her just 
looking at me and saying, "What's the big deal? Why don't you just 
have fun?" 

[My older sister, who came in junior kindergarten] had been here a long 
time, but she had friends back at the old neighborhood who grew up with 
her. For me, coming out of junior high — kids saying, "Well, she's going 
off to a private school!" — that pretty much ended a lot of relationships 
because it' s just not something within their realm of acceptance. Also the 
time difference: you had to get up pretty early just to get here. And you 


were always involved in sports, so by the time we got home and did that 
two hours of homework, or whatever, the day was through. 

And it was jarring to go from being an A student in public school to being a 
C student here — and not really understanding why I was at the top there 
and at what I considered the bottom here? The only people who got C's in 
public school were pretty stupid. 

The black students who were here tried to hang together, but, when you're 
talking about five people, there's only so far you can hang. Also with the 
distances that were being travelled, most of tine others were from Waukegan 
or North Chicago, so we didn't even have that travel time together. It was 
only the time we had here, and if they weren't in sports — which a lot 

weren't — there wasn't a lot of time to connect as a group So, it was a 

mix [with the white majority] or perish sort of thing I think that' s bad in 

the sense that there was no choice. And I think it's bad whenever you don't 
have a choice. 

I think North Shore from the educational standpoint was a great place . . . 
but there was not the opportunity to discover support or to develop our 
ethnic identity here. 

Jesse Jackson Comes to NSCDS 

The seniors of 1977, members of Shelley Spencer's class, seemed to want to stretch 
beyond their insulated world. They invited the Reverend Jesse Jackson to give 
their commencement address. Jackson was at that time the national president of 
Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity). Excerpts from his speech and 
a summary of its ideas were recorded in the September 1977 Country Days : 

"Every generation has its challenge or set of challenges" and he recounted 
the past student struggle of recent years. Through the efforts and caring of 
students, the rebellious, idealistic generation of strugglers raised the 
national level of consciousness to great common issues. 

But after the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, the 
Vietnam War and Watergate, "the social emancipators found themselves 
derailed, found themselves interrupted." 

The will to work fell behind as the opportunities began to expand. The 
Rev. Jackson posed these questions: "What does it matter if one has a job 
and loses the will to work? What does it really matter if one has the 
opportunity of a first class education and loses the will to study? What 
does it really matter if we begin to develop a value system and begin to 
push dope in our brains rather than hope in our veins? 


"What does it matter if the doors of opportunity begin to swing wide open 
and we are too drunk to stagger through them? What does it matter if all 
these opportunities unfold and our materialistic bases expand and an 
ethical collapse occurs?" 

Listing child pornography, the legal drinking age and teenage pregnancy as 
examples of today's collapse in values, he called upon parents, teachers, 
and religious leaders to prevent such a collapse. 

He contrasted sacrifice to pleasure as life's highest principle with "the laws 
of sacrifice leading to greatness. Everybody cannot become famous, but 
everybody can serve — and service is the basis of greatness." 

Vision Quest 

It was becoming quite evident at The North Shore Country Day School that just as 
individuals experience periods of transformation in their personal lives when 
moving to stages of greater maturity, so institutions undergo periodic changes, 
some of them quite painful for all concerned. Institutional change can occur to 
meet changing needs of a constituency, or it can occur as the result of a different 
vision of the authority structure, or, as is probable in most cases, change results 
from a combination of the two. 

In the case of The North Shore Country Day School, the enrollment figures were 
descending from the all-time high in the sixties of over 460 students to around 400. 
Many of the students of the seventies were very talented, but a good number also 
needed special attention, both behaviorally and academically. Macdonald was 
both willing and able to give this kind of attention, but his was an "outside" 
perspective. He had not been trained in the "North Shore experience," as had the 
other two successors of Perry Smith, and his "fit" in the school community was 
never quite comfortable. Certainly Macdonald's vision of education could be 
accepted, even today in the late eighties; this is probably why he was selected out 
of the many highly qualified candidates for the position in 1972. His essay 
published in the February-March 1978 Country Days gave an insight into 
Macdonald, the person as well as the educator, and might even be called inspired: 

We have lost in our culture, or given them up, the self-conscious rites of 
passage, of initiation, that made up for earlier cultures the movement from 
one stage of life to another, and that gave the person moving through life 
his sense of mission and meaning. Some of us still observe these rites in our 
individual religions, but somehow this part of our lives is 
compartmentalized and does not show in our everyday way of being 

Even the emergence into adulthood in our culture is blurred in this same 
way, so that the pieces that might signal accepting an adult role are 
staggered out over such a long time that the individual remains a child/ 
adult over at least ten years of his/her life. Onset of puberty is earlier and 


earlier; true self-sufficiency, economic and emotional, comes later and later. 
Marriage is delayed or avoided, people go to school longer and longer, men 
and women in their twenties still receive financial support from their 
parents; yet at the other end children are taking adult risks earlier and 
earlier, the power of affluence and choice, the freedom from structures that 

bind and prohibit, the availability of self-destructive alternatives [A]ll 

of this overlapping of childhood and adulthood blurs the process of growth 
and prevents our children from getting a clear sense of who they are and 
what their lives mean as they move through the stages of growth. 

The North American Indians shared a process called a "vision-quest," a 
time when a person sets out on a particular ritual guided by a shaman or 
medicine man to experience a vision which would reveal to him his 
identity and his purpose in life. Often the quester was a young man at the 
beginning of adulthood, but it could be a person of any age who felt called 
to find his or her meaning. The quest involved a number of processes, 
fasting, physical hardship, isolation, silence, meditation and waiting. At the 
end the seeker experienced a dream or a vision which revealed to him a 
meaning or a secret that renewed him and sent him back out to the world 
again to live out that meaning. Usually too, the searcher was given a 
guardian spirit who watched over him and was there to give him 
instruction and advice when he needed it. 

What can take the place of this vision-quest in our society for our children 
today? We do not share a religion, we have no common myths or culture, 
nor do we even share the same value system. We do, however, share a 
common institution and experience, the School. Society has lately put so 
much responsibility on the school for all sorts of cultural tasks that it seems 
unfair to see the school as a place where children can find their identities, 
their meanings. But in an odd way the school, especially one like North 
Shore, is uniquely suited to this kind of inner process. 

If we compare for a minute the Indian's vision-quest with the process of 
schooling, we will see some similarities. First, the vision quest takes place 
apart from families and parents, but connected. The seekers go off into the 
woods or mountains with a small group, but this is a process their parents 
have gone through before them, so it is connected with the values of their 
home and tribe. Second, the process is work; it involves fear, the 
overcoming of obstacles, passing tests, persevering, and holding on to a 
process until it comes to fruition. Third, it involves depending upon a 
shaman, a wise man who has taken the path before; and while most of us as 
faculty would be uncomfortable to be seen in so weighty and mysterious a 
role, we do share this burden of experience and wisdom along with 
ministers and therapists in our culture. We are the adults who introduce 
our children into the mysteries of that culture and into the meanings which 
their selves hold in store for them within our society. Finally, the quest 
process ends in self-awaremess, a deeper knowledge of one's self, one's 
feelings, and the matrix of relationships and experiences that give each life 
its meaning. 


If in fact the school can be today one vehicle through which children can 
find their vision, their meaning, or their calling, why is it that the process of 
schooling so seldom comes out in such a transformed and reborn place? 
Why do schools so often seem boring, frustrating, or confining, rather than 
liberating, transforming, and truly educative? 

The answer it seems to me lies in a misunderstanding of the mystery 
hidden in the Latin root, educere. If we think of the vision quest, we realize 
that neither the process of the trip, the hardship, the struggle, nor the 
person of the shaman puts the vision inside the seeker. It is there all along. 
So in the Latin root, the meaning of educere is to "lead out," reminding us 
that the vision, the calling, the meaning is already nascent and waiting 
inside the child and needs the proper climate in which to be bom. We don't 
take seriously enough, as adults, this mission of the school to lead out of the 
child his own identity, to help him find his own vision. It is as though we 
are more comfortable staying with the informing, didactic role of the school 
because it is one we can measure and test; to believe in the vision-quest 
metaphor for the school, one must have great faith, both in one's own 
powers and in the powers latent in the child. 

But it seems to me it is precisely this deeper meaning of education that lies 
at the heart of what North Shore can be about at its best. Because we are 
small, intense, focussed and caring, we can know and respond to whatever 
is best and strongest within each of our children, "leading out" that sense of 
calling, mission and purpose which can give the deepest sense of meaning 
and direction to our children's lives. But in doing so we face three major 
stumbling blocks. The path is a little like the one in Bunyan's Pilgrim's 
Progress; there are many distractions and temptations that pull one from the 

The first impediment or seduction on the path toward meaning or identity 
is the search for pleasure. How often do we hear our children say they just 
want to be happy or they are just looking for fun. The problem with this is 
that happiness and fun are not things you can find or search for; they are 
things that happen to you. We are such an affluent culture that we can 
really delude ourselves into thinking that we can buy or rent a good time or 
a happy life. All of us adults when we think about it, know that happiness 
is something that finds us, that overwhelms us, and surprises us when we 
least expect it, but when we are absorbed in something else: a job, a 
relationship, a problem. I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis's book. Surprised by 
Joy, because that title says it all; happiness, joy, fun are all gifts, accidents, 
byproducts that happen to us as we try seriously to make sense out of our 
lives, the problems we face. So many of us as parents today are afraid to 
make our children unhappy, to deprive them of something they want or 
think they want, especially because we can afford to buy it for them. We 
forget that most growth comes from struggling through difficult times and 
problems, from living through unhappiness and frustrations, not from 
escaping it 


A second seduction is the search for security. Surely if we can't be happy 
all the time, at least we can be secure. But this too is a detour because the 
student in school who searches for security misses all the exciting ideas, the 
opportunities for a new experience, the chance to live through frustration 
and failure, the risk of trying out a new idea or a new creation no matter 
what its outcome. To search for security means to be wedded to all the 
already done things, the old personalities and meanings. School is the place 
for finding one's natural limits, not for settling for what feels safe or good. 

In the metaphor of the vision-quest, we must all, old and young alike, be 
willing to go out daily into the frontiers of our worlds to see what our 
personalities can make there. We are so often concerned with making 
children safe and secure in their learning that we forget to teach them that 
learning means risking anxiety and persevering through difficult times too. 
Learning is perhaps life's hardest process, and it is dishonest to pretend, 
whether to kindergartner or senior, that it is easy and safe. 

The third seduction is that we too often focus on making it materially in the 
world and forget that the real point is finding one's calling. To find a job is 
not the same as to find a vocation. We have lost the sense of that Latin root 
too, and we forget that it means being called to do something that enriches 
our souls, not simply something that lines our pockets. Because we live in 
an affluent society, because we have so many things around us that seem to 
bring us comfort and security, our children often come to feel that these 
things are the purpose and end of it all. They mistake the outsides for the 
insides, and we sometimes don't teach them enough about what really 
matters. So they think of getting into the "right" college as a way of getting 
a "good" job, as a way of getting into the "good" life, but without even 
knowing what lies beneath any of those trappings. Instead of helping our 
children conform to the expectations of the outside world, we must teach 
them that they carry within them the seeds of their own meaning. We must 
help them find their calling and by example show them what it means to 
live with passion and with vision. 

Living with Vision 

Macdonald had high expectations for the School as well as for the faculty that 
animated it. His view of education implied but went far beyond academic 
excellence and preparation for college; it certainly fit with the model of progressive 
educators. Julie Hall, who joined the middle school faculty in 1976, will never 
forget the time when: 

... all the English teachers in the middle school and upper school got 
together, and we decided we would have one hour on one day when all of 
the students in our classes would be responding in writing to the same 
passage. We chose a poem from Emily Dickinson, and we gave the kids 
bluebooks, and they had an hour to write, and on the cover they only put 
their grade level. We did it so we could read it without knowing who the 
students were. Then we divided all the bluebooks up and had at least two 


and in many cases three teachers reading them and grading them, and then 
we got together one evening and we compared our grades. What did we 
expect of kids at this age? What were we looking for? Why did you say 
that was a five — which was the best — when somebody else said it was a 
three? Did we agree or disagree? What were our standards for teaching 

It was a wonderful exercise! I think we as teachers learned so much from it. 
We had a long, long evening when we went through questions like this and 
discussed them. Basically, we found there was an awful lot of agreement, 
that we were very close in the way we graded and what we thought was a 
good paper and what we thought wasn't. It was just a wonderful thing 
to do. 

Doug looked at the students as individuals. He looked for ways to get the 
best from them and for them. 

Macdonald's view of education was, in fact, as enlightened by the research of 
anthropologists and psychologists of the seventies as was that of Perry Dunlap 
Smith of the twenties, thirties and forties. 


What, then, went wrong during the Macdonald tenure? The vision was right. 
Macdonald was a gifted counselor; the students had great affection for him. They 
found it easy to go into his office at any time for a talk. Their comfort with him 
was no doubt helped by seeing him daily in the classroom and by going on 
wilderness trips with him during Interim Weeks. They felt they knew him well. 
The role of authority figure, however, may have been wrong for him. 

Perhaps he was encouraging too much independence. Study halls were monitored 
— not too effectively — by upperclass students. Student Council, yearbook and 
newspaper depended primarily on the initiative and devotion of the students. 

Carol Radloff, who had joined the drama department [1970-88] in time to watch the 
seventies come in, remembered the whole atmosphere being quite unlike her prior 
experience in a public school; 

I really liked the campus. It was very much like a college. Kids were 
everywhere; I don't think anything was locked. I recall the kids being on 
campus all the time, any time — even two or three o'clock in the morning if 
they wanted to — working on the yearbook or whatever. Was the building 
left open, or did they have keys? I'm not sure — but no one seemed to 
make a big deal about it. Whenever I had to come in for rehearsed, I never 
had to unlock doors. When I brought it up, the response was, "Well, the 
School belongs to the kids, and they should have access to it." They did. 


Mrs. Radloff also remembered: 

. . . the students had rebelled against Vaudeville and said "We're not going 
to do it; we don't want it." 

So they didn't do it for awhile. The next year they said they wanted to do it 
themselves. So for a couple of years they did it themselves. And then, 

"Would you help a little here? Would you help a little there?" And then, 
pretty soon ... It's a cyclical thing. 

Everybody was rebellious then . . . against structure and authority. It 
[structure] wasn't relevant. If you weren't rebellious, you weren't with it. 

The kids would get all fired up and really dig into something. There was a 
freedom, a chaos. It contributed to the excitement. The kids felt responsible 
for what they did — good or bad — because they were [responsible]. There 
was very little adult interference. 

Mac McCarty's memory of Vaudeville was that David Newman [1966-70], the 
drama teacher that immediately preceded Carol Radloff, refused to deal with 
something as amateurish and unsophisticated as Vaudeville. If the students 
wanted to put it together, that was all right with him, but he wasn't going to be 
involved with it. 

These were signs of the times as well as of the style of administration. By the time 
Macdonald came to NSCDS, the students had fought for and gained once more 
permission to smoke on campus. The Student Council had sent an undated letter 
to the parents requesting their permission to smoke from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at a 
designated area on campus. Carol Radloff was somewhat horrified to discover 
when she came in 1970 that students had permission to smoke in the office on the 
second floor of the auditorium. Shortly after that, the smokers had to go out to a 
designated area near the tennis courts. The only students granted this privilege 
were those at least sixteen years of age who had a note of parental permission filed 
with the School. But how well this situation was monitored is open to question. 

There had also been the 1972 incident when a boy was discovered smoking 
marijuana with several friends in his van in the upper school parking lot. 

Mrs. Radloff remembered: 

... a big to-do about what should be done with him, whether he should be 
expelled or suspended or what. As it turned out, he was suspended for a 
week. He could come on campus to get his assignments, but he couldn't 
associate with the other students. Those were the days when there was a 
lot of talk about making pot legal. It was easy to get. 

But these incidents were pre-Macdonald. What Macdonald faced were drinking 
episodes where some parents felt stronger disciplinary action should have been 
taken, even though a number of parents were themselves providing beer for 
student parties. 


By 1978 Macdonald was sufficiently perturbed about the student smoking that at 
the first faculty meeting that fall, he told the teachers that, given the knowledge of 
the health effects, he could in conscience no longer condone smoking for any of the 
students on campus. He asked the faculty if they would support him in banning it 
completely and, further, whether those few faculty members who did smoke 
would forego doing so in the lunchroom and other public places on campus. There 
was unanimous support for his request. 

Another concern among parents was that several of the faculty members at the 
time believed that students should discover for themselves the consequences of not 
studying and turning in assignments. These teachers took the attitude, "if they [the 
students] don't do the work, that's their tough luck." The practice of after-school 
and Saturday study sessions, which had been the solution to delinquent academics 
in earlier years, was no longer enforced. 

There was, nevertheless, a high point during this stressful time: the 1977 football 
team made the semi-finals in the playoffs of the state tournament. The team and its 
coach, Mac McCarty, became highly visible in the Chicago newspapers and on 
television. That was also the year McCarty was named as football coach to the Hall 
of Fame. 

However, there were a number of complex administrative problems that were not 
being solved. The alumni and Bellringer fund-raising efforts needed attention. 

The administrative staff, according to some observers of the time, was overloaded. 
There was one head for both lower and middle school. Admissions was a division 
head's job. College counseling was another division head's task. Some of the 
faculty did not feel supported by Macdonald, particularly in classroom and study 
hall discipline matters. And the generally conservative North Shore suburbs may 
have been the wrong place for someone of his temperament. Rightly or wrongly, 
Macdonald was thought by some of the parents to have had too much of a hippie 
image; he wore a beard for part of his tenure as headmaster and appeared on 
campus in shorts and sandals in warm weather. In addition, for a variety of 
reasons, there was an unusually high turn-over rate among the faculty. Some of 
the teachers felt that he went too far in letting the students express themselves. 

"It's not what you learn but how you express it," as one former faculty member 
put it. 

As tension grew within the school community, what became evident to the Board 
and the faculty was that finding the right person to lead an institution implies a 
very complicated choice, a recognition of the ambiguity of fit. The educational 
vision is critical, but it must be accompanied by administrative skill, the "right" 
image, an indefinable comfort level with a specific social/emotional environment 
and, finally, an ability to balance the needs and desires of the competing 

By 1978-79 there was severe friction between the headmaster and the Board of 
Directors. The precipitating factor, however, for the final break was a drug 
incident. A student was picked up by the police in a neighboring suburb for 


possession of drugs, and Macdonald did not expel him immediately because to do 
so, in his estimation, would have been to find him guilty before proven so. The 
Board stepped in, demanded immediate expulsion, and requested Lawrence 
Chiappetta, head of the upper school [1978-86], to become acting head for the 
duration of the year. Macdonald stayed on and continued to teach until June. It 
was a tribute to both men that they maintained respect for each o filer and carried 
on a compatible working relationship. By fall of 1979 Macdonald had became 
headmaster at an independent school in Connecticut. 

Search for the New Headmaster 

A nationwide search was again set in motion. Among the many candidates was 
one for whom the match seemed just right — educational vision, administrative 
skill and comfort with the milieu — an educator by the name of Richard P. Hall, 
recent head of the upper school at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, Ohio. In fact. 
Hall, reminiscing ten years later, recalled that he had a "this is it" kind of 
experience the first time he walked onto The North Shore Country Day School 
campus. "It was such a relief to have a feeling of some structure," a faculty 
member of the time recalls. But Hall, too, would discover that as right as he was 
for the position at the end of the seventies, institutions as well as human beings 
have their cycles, and the fit would no longer be right by the end of the eighties. 


Richard P. Hall was the fifth headmaster from 1979-1989. 


THE EIGHTIES: Challenge and Risk 

We are a college preparatory school, with academic standards designed to 
prepare students for the most competitive colleges and universities. 

Instruction at North Shore takes place in small classes. We believe that, 
although instruction can happen in large groups, the most effective learning is 
found in small groups with a first-rate teaching force. 

We believe that education takes place within and outside the classroom. 
This is reflected throughout the year in enrichment programs. 

Participation in many different segments of school life is of crucial 
significance here. 

We are a school filled with the traditions of over sixty years of leadership in 
independent education in the Chicago area as well as in the nation. Our students 
are able to profit from and share in the experience of many loyal alumni. 

We are a family school. Specifically that means that students in the entire 
School, grades K-12, interact often. That means also that the participation of. . . 
parents is encouraged in many school activities. The atmosphere of the School is 
one of respect for learning which encourages students to test their abilities. 

Richard P. Hall 

So reads the 1981-82 school brochure addressed to prospective students by Richard 
P. Hall, the forty-year-old dynamic educator who became the headmaster of the 
eighties. A graduate of both Trinity and Middlebury Colleges, a former faculty 
member at Exeter in New Hampshire and an administrator at Seven Hills School in 
Ohio before coming to North Shore, Hall had been thoroughly imbued with the 
independent school tradition. There was no question of the importance of the 
college preparatory aspect of his new School; but enrichment, participation and 
tradition took on greater emphasis under Hall. Above all, the new headmaster 
declared war on boredom and committed himself to making The North Shore 
Country Day School one of the most interesting and exciting educational 
institutions in the country — so much so that by the end of the decade his teachers 
were complaining of exhaustion and fragmentation. 

It was in the autumn of 1979 that the fifth headmaster took his place, just in time to 
celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the School's founding. The energy level on 
campus rose by 100 percent. The position, however, was not an easy one to 
assume. He was confronted with a massive deficit. Hence, his first goal was to 
develop a long-range plan which would include a capital fund drive. He also faced 
the School's seven-year evaluation, a requirement for membership in the 


Independent Schools Association of the Central States, which was due the year he 
arrived. For obvious reasons, he sought a year's extension. 

Lawrence Chiappetta [1978-86], head of the upper school, had been in place only 
one year as had Joan Elisberg [1978-80], administrator of lower and middle schools. 
The turn-over rate of the faculty was unusually high the year of Hall's arrival, so 
too both the year before and the year after. The faculty was young — in age and in 
experience. Hence, another major concern of Hall's was to stabilize and to build a 
mature faculty in the coming years. 

"Dick Hall had a very different style than Doug Macdonald." Who would know 
that better than Sharon Dole, assistant to the headmaster [1977-present]? 

Under Doug, my position had been upgraded from secretarial to assistant 

to the headmaster I had had training in counseling, abortion, women's 

rights. This [the headmaster's] office had an open-door policy; kids stopped 
in all the time. Doug had very strong skills in counseling. My background 
was seen as a complement to that. 

When I met with Dick to talk about how we might work together, he had in 
mind an executive secretary-type person. That wasn't what I had imagined 
for myself, but I decided not to pre-judge the situation. My children [two 
young sons] were happy here. The School became for us an extended 
family, and that felt right. 

Dick turned out to be wonderful during those years. He was very task- 
oriented, very focused. He operated with vision, a good long-range planner 
type. He had a very practical sense of how to get from A to Z. Doug was a 
visionary, but the concrete practical ways of how to get from here to there 
were not as strong. Dick was very devoted to this School; his life was this 
School. With Doug, there was a life outside the School that he kept separate. 

In addition to the community of the School, the community of Winnetka would 
share for ten years in the energetic service of Richard Hall. He became an active 
participant in the local Rotary Club, and when his new business manager, Robert 
Beerheide, joined the NSCDS staff. Hall encouraged him to become an active 
Rotarian. Hall also joined the Board of the Hadley School for the Blind in 
Winnetka and was a loyal supporter for the rest of the decade. He consciously and 
deliberately broke down many of the barriers between the town and "that school 
up there on the hill." As Perry Dunlap Smith and Carleton Washbume had 
enriched the entire community by their personal and professional relationship 
during the twenties and thirties, so Richard Hall and Donald Monroe, 
superintendent of the Winnetka Public School System, enriched the eighties by 
their creative friendship. Hall realized early that a willingness to serve was what 
the School stood for, and he became a prime role-model for that value. 

Another value which Hall promoted was that of traditions. He clearly recognized 
their role in creating the culture of a school community. Early in his tenure, he 


engaged Lorenz Aggens, former business manager and faculty member [1955-66], 
to study the traditions of the School and, in sessions with the faculty, to share his 
findings. Hall was convinced that an important part of the faculty's understanding 
of the School depended on their having a sense of its traditions and a 
consciousness of its history. To this end. Hall was determined to see that a history 
of the School be written. "You could very quickly turn into an ordinary school," 
Hall could be heard to say, "if you stop fighting for those things." He made it his 
business not only to know the traditions but to start a few of his own. As much as 
he respected New Trier, the prominent public high school in Winnetka, Hall was 
determined not to let The North Shore Country Day School become a "little New 

One of the young, relatively inexperienced faculty members recalls die new 
headmaster's opening remarks at his first Morning Ex: 

A good school is a place where people care about ideas, where people are 
allowed to think, where people are allowed to imagine . . . where people 
respect one another, try to help one another and care about one another. 

Such words were an invitation to take risks, to have confidence that a supportive 
environment would make it possible, and to respond to the challenge of creative 
teaching without fear. 

That same teacher, in revealing a mistake to the headmaster a short time later, was 
reassured when Hall said that if he had let mistakes get him down, he would have 
quit this business long ago. Permission like this opened the way to a decade of 
continuing educational experiences and experiments, many of diem in the tradition 
of the progressive roots of the School. Hall, too, had a commitment to teaching for 
himself as well as for other members of his administrative staff. Over the years he 
taught French in both the middle and upper schools. The head of the upper school, 
Lawrence Chiappetta, set up and taught courses in the new computer program. 
Heads of the lower and middle schools, during the eighties, continued to spend 
time in the classrooms as well in their administrative offices, but, after all, that was 
part of the progressive tradition. 

The School Evaluation of 1980 

There could not have been a better way for Hall to begin to know his school more 
thoroughly and more quickly than by undergoing the evaluation of 1980, the year 
after his arrival. No sooner was the headmaster settled into the North Shore 
community than he was involved in the obligatory self-study — validated by an 
outside team of professional peers — which was required for membership in the 
Independent Schools Association of the Central States [IS ACS]. What emerged 
from the process was a recognition by the outside team of a sense of a "new era" 
pervading the whole school community. The evaluators commended the family 
feeling within the School and acknowledged the high level of interaction among 
students of different ages. However, the diversity of student body and faculty was 


not as great as the ideal stated in the School philosophy. Nor was enough attention 
given to addressing "issues of social concern and life experience," also stated in the 
philosophy. The final report included several further recommendations: 
reviewing the resource center and library program (i.e., considering a building 
move), continuing to raise faculty salaries and hiring a director of development. 
Such recommendations fit the perspective which Hall brought with him into his 
new role, a perspective which endured his decade-long tenure at North Shore. 

A Development Program 

Richard Hall was not one to delay. Within a month after the ISACS Evaluation 
Report was submitted, a Long-Range Planning Committee was in place. Within 
nine months, the new director of development had moved into an office next to 
Hall's in Dunlap Hall (the upper school building). Nancy Jones Emrich, educated 
at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts and for nine years Director of 
Admissions at the Foxcroft School, came into her newly-created position ready to 
begin immediately on a capital and endowment fund drive under the title. 
Endowing Educational Excellence (EEE). The goal was to raise three and a half 
million dollars, both for faculty endowment and for building a new library. 

Long-Range Plan 

Planning was one of Hall's strengths, and he had an outstanding Board of Trustees, 
under the leadership of Richard Franke and Cameron Avery, with whom to do it. 
The Long Range Planning Committee, chaired by Harold H. Hines, Jr., took up the 
recommendations which came out of the Evaluation: concerns which had to do 
with curriculum, social purpose, and human and financial resources. 

Organized under these four categories, actions were proposed by the committee 
and adopted by the Board of Trustees by the end of April in 1981, just in time for 
the headmaster's six-month response to the ISACS Evaluation Review Committee. 
Among the seven changes dealing with curriculum were proposals to stimulate 
academic excellence, to increase participation in the arts (especially drama, manual 
arts and dance), to stimulate global awareness, to promote speaking skills, to 
develop computer science and to expand the science curriculum. 

Among the five social purpose actions were the following: increasing social 
awareness and requiring community service, strengthening student government 
processes, and developing programs to deal with the needs of students and their 
families in the face of such conditions as single parenting, divorce and remarriage, 
and two wage-earner families. 

In regard to human resources, the concerns were with the School's image, with 
admissions and enrollment, and with faculty. Proposals for faculty included 
finding subsidized housing, providing opportunities "to reduce course loads in 


order to pursue other undertakings beneficial to the School" and moving the 
median salary toward the 90th percentile of the National Association of 
Independent Schools midwestern salary distribution. A proposed action was to 
"develop formal reports to the Board on faculty excellence and the extent and 
variety of non-classroom faculty contributions." Another proposal was to 
"formalize and market a gifted student program." 

The financial resource innovation which came to dominate the first half of the 
decade was the capital fund drive for the following: 

1. Renovation of buildings, energy-saving improvements, expansion of the 
middle school, construction of a new resource center, enhancement of the 
auditorium and subsidized housing for six additional faculty members; and 

2. Enlargement of endowment for enrichment of programs and upgrading 
of faculty salaries. 

By the end of Richard Hall's second year at The North Shore Country Day School, 
he had been handed — or, more accurately, he had helped create — the blue print 
for the rest of his administration. 

Academic concerns were paramount, but Hall was also very sensitive to his 
environment. Almost immediately after his arrival, pictures went up on the walls 
of the corridors; faculty, especially in the upper school, were encouraged to 
humanize their classrooms; within the next three years, carpeting was laid 
throughout Dunlap Hall, which cut down considerably on the noise level. The 
Woman's Board underwrote the expense of environmentally-sound windows and 
doors for the lower and middle schools. Moreover, the Woman's Board also 
carried out the landscape beautification plan under the direction of Mary Pick 
Hines '49. Although the School was always noted for its lush green appearance 
(one of the Chicago students was telling his friend about NSCDS, and die other 
youngster responded, "Oh, you mean the school with the grass"), in fact, Dutch 
elm disease and aging had taken their toll. When the landscaping plan was 
complete, springtime on the campus fairly danced with flowering trees and shrubs. 

Global Awareness 

Hall had brought with him to North Shore a determination to encourage global 
awareness; his graduate studies and teaching expertise were in the field of French 
language and culture. Joyce Lopas [head of French department 1977-present] 
wrote of this commitment in the May 1979 issue of Country Days : 

As part of our effort to jolt our students out of their small world and into a 
broader consciousness, we have a program, albeit small at this time, of 
bringing foreign students here and of sending some of our students abroad. 
Our incoming headmaster, Dick Hall, will bring experience and expertise in 
this field to help us develop our programs further. Many NSCDS students 


already have unusual opportunities to travel the world. Such experience 
helps to bring a global perspective into our classrooms. But what depth of 
understanding and willingness to penetrate those foreign cultures do they 
bring to these travels? Do they go to "see the sights" and ignore the people, 
or do they have the training to suspend their own cultural biases and to 
accept that other peoples have their own special cultural and personal logic? 
One of our goals is to teach them to have the skills and sensitivity to make 
this "leap." 

The aforementioned concerns obviously stretch beyond the French and 
Spanish programs at NSCDS. Our Interim Week programs in city 
experience, service to the elderly, working with children in the lower school, 
studies in literature, history and anthropology, all are part of this attempt to 
stretch and transcend ourselves, to help our students to accept the 
differences, needs and similarities of their neighbors near and far and 
perhaps to become citizens of the world. 

Madame Lopas, with the support and encouragement of Dick Hall, expanded the 
International Student Program and was soon overseeing six to eight students a 
year from all parts of the world: Europe, South America, Australia, Western Samoa 
and the Orient. 

Latin is Revived 

In addition to the study of French and Spanish, Latin was once again revived at the 
request of a small group of parents. In 1979 former faculty member, Diane Dorn 
[Latin 1968-74, 1979-87], returned to teach, reflecting a national trend back to the 
classics. There would be a wellspring of interest in Latin and then a recession 
during the following eight years. 

Writing Center in Middle School 

A new writing center was begun under the direction of Susan Gundlach [1979- 
present] in the middle school in 1979. By 1980, The Writing Place was producing 
"The Writers' Review," a collection of the students' early memories and reflections 
on their world. Family history soon became a focal point for young writers' 
research, which was gathered from interviews with family members and collected 
into a more sophisticated publication, that included drawings and photographs. 

By the mid-eighties, Mrs. Gundlach was conducting workshops at national 
educational conferences on family history and writing for young students. 

By 1987 when Sue Gundlach assumed the chairmanship of the English 
Department, a strong K-12 writing program was in place; it extended beyond the 
English department and across divisional lines. Based on current research on the 
teaching of writing, the program took full advantage of coaching, conferencing and 
editing groups. 


Opportunities for publication expanded throughout the decade, not only in School 
publications but also in national magazines such as Highlights, The McGuffey Writer, 
Merlyn's Pen, Stone Soup and Waterways. Periodic announcements were made 
before Morning Ex by Mrs. Gundlach, acknowledging to the School community the 
published poets, authors and artists among the student body. 

Such recognition — never questioned in the eighties — might have been silenced in 
the forties and earlier by a school philosophy that so minimized a star mentality 
that the names of the student performers in the opera were not even printed on the 
programs. At graduation in 1989, Fisher Howe '31, told, with great amusement, a 
story of how Perry Dunlap Smith dealt with such honors: 

The Harvard Clubs around the country for years have given out annual 
book prizes to students who have made a mark of achievement on some 
basis the Clubs dreamed up. One day PD went to the window of a 
classroom and signalled a student to come out into the hall. Somewhat 
fearful, you can be sure, the student came out to him. Furtively, PD handed 
the student that year's Harvard Club Award Book, as much as to say, 

"They told me to give this to you; don't tell anyone." 

Changes in the Grading System 

Fisher Howe '31 also took delight in telling the students of the School's early 
attitude toward the grading system: 

Where else, I ask you, can anyone go through twelve years of school and 
get into the college of choice without ever having received a mark or grade. 

... In our day, we and our parents received a simple graph card with a red 
line across it indicating a presumed level of competence; on it, each 
two-week or monthly period, the teachers would show and discuss where 
we stood, against our own potential. . . 

Where else but North Shore were you — and, I hope, are you — stimulated 
in so many ways to leam for reasons other than the mark you got for your 

In the early eighties, the School still had a distinctive marking system: E for 
excellent, H for honorable, C for creditable, WP for weak pass and NS for not 
satisfactory. There was no honor roll. Many hours were spent at faculty meetings 
discussing whether this grading system should be maintained and, if so, whether it 
might have an adverse effect on college admissions. Class rank was another 
sensitive issue. School philosophy frowned on ranking pupils, yet college 
admissions offices demanded some kind of scale evaluation of incoming freshmen. 
At the end of 1981, Lawrence Chiappetta, head of the upper school, who also 
handled college counseling at that time, announced several decisions regarding the 
reporting system: 


1. No changes will be made in the internal reporting of grades and 
comments by teachers. Both Attitude/Effort and Achievement grades will 
be included. . . . 

2. Exact class rank (e.g., 5/42 — stands fifth in a class of forty-two) will be 
reported to all colleges students apply to each year. These ranks are not 

available to students or parents until after graduation Actually, this 

procedure was adopted some time ago and is currently in effect for the 
class of 1982. 

3. Grades (Achievement) reported to colleges will be directly converted to 
anA-B-C-D-F "letter scheme." These will be described in the school 
profile according to the designations we give to our internal grades, i.e., our 
description of an "A" will be the same as the internal description of an "E," 
et cetera. 

When Barbara Franke [1982-84] stepped in as college counselor, and later Sharon 
Cooper [1983-present], the method of dealing with class rank was to use quintiles. 
As the seniors prepared their college application forms, they would be told into 
what quintile their grades placed them. According to Sharon Cooper, the college 
admissions offices found this method acceptable. For the students, it avoided the 
onus of specific rank. 

By the end of the eighties, the faculty had voted to convert the internal grades to 
the A - B - C system since there was no longer a distinction between that gauge and 
the E - H - C system. The change, however, did not ease the discomfort most 
faculty members typically felt with student evaluation, simply reflecting the 
recognition of the problematic nature of grades among educators in general. The 
upper school faculty gave in to the public scale, but that didn't ease the agony of 
evaluation each time one of the six grading periods came up on the calendar. The 
lower and middle schools chose not to use letter grades but continued to use a 
check list of expected behavior and skills. 

Eunice Jackson 

It was Eunice Jackson [English, 1979-83] who raised her British voice at a faculty 
meeting in early December of 1979 in outrage at having to spend Thanksgiving 
break writing grade reports for the end of the fall term. When the rest of the 
faculty realized that they weren't alone in their anger about the situation, they 
quickly came to her support. In recognition of the inhumanity of the situation, 
report-writing days were thereafter built into the school schedule at the end of the 
first and second terms, and the end of the fall term was shifted away from 
Thanksgiving the following year. 

Mrs. Jackson had originally come to the U.S. on a Fulbright Fellowship, but she met 
and married an American husband, and the United States became her home. Her 
delightful presence graced the campus of North Shore only four years, but her 


impact was felt for the rest of the decade. In 1981 she led her first trip to London 
for Interim Week. By fortuitous circumstance, the American ambassador to 
England at that time happened to be John Louis, a resident of Winnetka whose 
children had attended The North Shore Country Day School during the seventies. 
The wondrous visit to his residence was described by two awe-struck members of 
the class of '83, Jane Dettmers and Emily Wanberg: 

At 3:30 p.m Monday, November 2, 1981, a series of seven taxis rolled up 

to the Stratford Court Hotel on Oxford Street in London. Twenty-four 
immaculately dressed students and twelve elegantly dressed adults 
excitedly climbed in and drove to the American Embassy, Winfield House, 
in Regent's Park. 

As we pulled up to the wrought iron gates, the porter stopped the cars to 

check the names of the people inside The kind and warm Ambassador 

and Mrs. Louis immediately made us feel at home when they took us on a 
tour of the ground floor 

While we were finishing sipping our tea in the living room, the 
Ambassador told us about his job . . . at the Court of St. James ... a most 
memorable experience! 

The trip to England became the high point of the Interim Week offerings, both 
because of the experience of British culture and because of the experience of Mrs. 
Jackson. But if a student could not take the trip, he or she could certainly 
experience Mrs. Jackson in the classroom, either as a freshman or as a senior. She 
brought Shakespeare and Dickens alive in ways that were quite extraordinary. 
One young alumna remembered Mrs. Jackson spending several weeks teaching A 
Midsummer Night's Dream to the eighth graders. "Absolutely inspiring," as she 
put it. 

Just four years after Eunice Jackson came to North Shore, at the age of forty-nine, 
she suddenly died on a Friday morning in the spring. No one could have 
predicted such a sudden loss. The School community was devastated. The dance 
that had been planned for that date turned into an evening of mourning. A week 
later, on the day originally scheduled for a faculty development program, the 
memorial service was held. Adrienne Weisse [French 1968-71, 1978-present], 
friend and colleague, spoke for all of the faculty in her eulogy: 

During the past week, we have all tried. I'm sure, to fix in our minds forever 
the delightful visions and sounds we have of Eunice. Her use of the 
Queen's English said much about her as a great teacher and unequaled 
friend. One of the phrases we heard her use most often was, "I couldn't 
agree more." These words indicated Eunice's ability to elicit the best from 
each of us and to re-enforce in us our best qualities. The large number of 
recommendations she was asked to write for students and colleagues 
suggests our conviction that she emphasized our strengths rather than our 
weaknesses. Another recurring phrase was "Oh, crumbs!" — humorous 


proof that she was able to keep the petty annoyances of life in perspective. 
So many times, she said to me: "Let's pop in here. I've got something to tell 
you." Her great involvement in everything made her unfailingly 
interesting. A meeting that she felt was not productive would be sure to 
merit, "Well, that was a dead loss, wasn't it?" She was very tactful, but also 
quite frank. 

Eunice's great intellectual strengths were obvious to all. Her ability to field 
any questions about literature or English usage was assumed; but the gift 
she had in discussing history with the history department, music with the 
music department, Latin, French and German with the language 
department was extraordinary. The quickness and accuracy of her 
perceptions were sometimes startling. We all admired her incredible 
energy and stamina in light of her very serious diabetes. Eunice held the 
very highest standards for herself and her school. She became furious if 
anything inappropriate went on in school and went immediately to the 
source of the problem, be it student, fellow teacher, school head or 
headmaster. With her outstanding educational background, she was not at 
all pedantic. She didn't blink an eye at grammatical slips in conversation 
though she certainly would not tolerate them in the expository writing of 
her freshmen. Her refusal to procrastinate in anything was amazing. Phone 
calls were returned immediately and letters were answered post haste. 

Long Advanced Placement essays requiring forty-five minutes each to 
correct were given back to her students within a day or two. Eunice's 
generosity was unsurpassed. She always went home to Hartlepool laden 
with surprises for her adored mother, dad, and brother, Michael. The many 
trips back across the Atlantic meant gifts for friends. 

Yet no one loves people who consider themselves perfect. Eunice was loved 
by so many, in part, because of her vulnerabilities. Making decisions was 
very difficult for her. She counted on her friends to re-enforce her leanings 
on any particular day and then just as readily to support her abrupt change 
of mind the next day. She often wanted reassurance about her clothes. One 
of my fondest images of her is as she tried on new dresses in the closet of 
our office wanting approval before she cut off the tags. Only recently, she 
stuck her head out of a Marshall Field's dressing room to say to me, "I'm 
afraid I look like 'mutton-dressed lamb' in this one." That ability to laugh 
at herself was so endearing. But it was woe unto him who cast the slightest 
aspersion on anything British whether it be Princess Diana's dress or the 
latest BBC production! 

Beloved wife, daughter, sister, teacher, friend she was indeed. We at The 
North Shore Country Day School have lost our head girl, our star. In 
memory of our resident Shakespeare scholar who didn't need to consult 
reams of notes or annotated editions to hold her students spell-bound, and 
who died on the eve of the poet's 419th birthday, a few words from 
the Sonnets: 


When to the sessons of sweet silent thought 

I summon up remembrance of things past 

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend. 

All losses are restor'd and sorrows end. 

By spring of 1986 the Eunice Jackson Chair, honoring an outstanding teacher of 
English, was established through the fund-raising efforts of Sharon and Richard 
Cooper, former members of the Board of Trustees and school parents. But that 
came two years after the more immediate need was satisfied: to find a new head 
for the department of English. 

A national search was set in motion. By fall of 1984, Jack Pasanen, educated at the 
University of Massachusetts and Middlebury, was selected. He came to North 
Shore from eighteen years of teaching at Emma Willard. During the two years he 
was with North Shore, he introduced the school community to The Hunger Project 
in which he was an active participant. His tenure, however, was cut short in 1986 
when he married a British woman and went to England to live. It was at this point 
that the leadership of Susan Gundlach was acknowledged, and she became head of 
the English department as well as the first recipient of the Eunice Jackson Chair. 

Summer Programs 

Meanwhile, the activity of the day camp brought the campus to life for eight weeks 
every summer. Under the direction of Mac McCarty since 1953, it was now 
directed by Jay Bach, assistant to Mac for many years and member of the physical 
education department [1965-present]. Together, the two men and their staff 
oversaw the growth during the eighties of enrollment from 500 to 700 campers. 

The swimming pool, built on campus between the east gym and Leicester Hall in 
1981, made that kind of expansion possible. 

The "Bright and Talented" program, was initiated on the North Shore campus in 
the summer of 1983 by Joan Smutny, director of the Center for the Gifted at the 
National College of Education in Evanston, Illinois. Beginning with 1986, the 
program continued intact, but the name was changed to Project '86 and thereafter 
used the Project name with the designated year. Each year fifteen to twenty 
enrichment courses were offered from which "bright and talented" students 
entering grades seven, eight, nine or ten could select three. The wide range of 
offerings always included courses in creative writing, math, computer, science, 
languages, and studio and performing arts. In addition, courses such as 
Futuristics, Utopia, African Civilizations, and Ethical Decisions in a Scientific 
Society might appear on the brochure. The program ran Monday through Friday 
from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Classes were one hour long, with twenty minutes 
reserved each morning for "Colloquium," a period when students and faculty 
came together to share talents and projects, to listen to guest speakers or simply to 
get to know one another better. 


From 1985 through 1991, the Dr. Scholl Foundation provided funds for children 
from low-income areas. In fact, the brochure from Project '86 stated that "The 
program was enriched by this diverse student body which included students of 
seventeen different ethnic backgrounds." Bus transportation was available from 
central points in Chicago to enable many youngsters to come out from the city. 
The summer Project programs turned out to be a rich source of future high school 
students, particularly talented minority youngsters. 

The Science Program 

Among the attractive features of the North Shore campus for an enrichment 
program such as Project were the well-equipped science laboratories and the 
greenhouse attached to the biology lab. By the time Dick Hall arrived in the 
autumn of 1979, the science facilities on the lower level of Dunlap Hall had been 
totally renovated with funds in memory of Rosemarie K. Smith, wife of George 
Smith '38 and mother of three North Shore alumni. Mac McCarty, who wrote of 
the renovation in Country Days (November 1979), was especially pleased with the 
biology lab where he taught. He commented on the hydroponic growth shelf and 
the greenhouse where the glass had been changed to plexiglass and an auxiliary 
gas heating unit had been installed. 

Hall, in his concern for the development of the science program, undertook a 
national search and brought William Goss, Jr. [1980-89] from the East as the new 
science department chairman. Goss had been educated at the Universities of 
Massachusetts and Delaware. His specialty was chemistry. At North Shore, he 
added two alternating years of advanced placement courses in chemistry and 
biology as well as two new groups of trimester courses: one in environmental 
chemistry, energy, and science ethics; the other in earth science, astronomy, and 
meteorology. Nevertheless, there was flexibility within the trimester courses for 
members of the science department to develop their special interests. 

The creative potential of the trimester courses was borne out during the eighties; 
new science faculty developed new courses. Two courses which took full 
advantage of field work were set up by Sue Clement [science 1980-87]. The first 
was marine biology, taught every other year and culminating with a week's field 
school in the Florida Keys during Interim; the second was botany, taught in 
conjunction with the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, just north of Winnetka, 
and demanding hour-long seminar periods twice a week at the Gardens. The final 
exam in botany involved designing and planting a rock garden at the northeast 
comer of the campus. 

During the spring of 1981, Goss received a grant from the Parents' Association to 
spend part of the summer investigating a JK-12 coordinated "Health" curriculum. 
Such topics as the teaching of values, sex education and drug and alcohol abuse 
were investigated. This experience inspired a unique Interim Week project on 
Alcohol Awareness which he continued until the end of the decade when he left 
North Shore. As he described the project for Country Days (February 1985): 


It's designed to present education for prevention as opposed to intervention. 

It's the only known program in the country that has students working with 
young patients in a hospital setting. 

The students would spend most of Interim Week at the Parkside Youth Center in 
Park Ridge getting to know young, recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. 

Periodic Alcohol Awareness Days for the entire upper school would bring these 
young patients or ex-patients out to the School to present a Morning Ex or to 
discuss the problems of substance abuse with small groups of students. 

Two subsequent summers were spent by Goss in developing a health curriculum 
for the entire School. The topics ranged from food and nutrition for students in the 
lower grades to sex education, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and stress for 
older students. At the beginning of the year, juniors and seniors would choose 
their topics. The major problem, at least for the upper school, was scheduling the 
health classes into an already full day. Several experiments were tried, one using 
homeroom meeting time, another using the time on Tuesdays and Thursdays when 
Morning Ex didn't meet. 

The lower grades did not have quite the dilemma in scheduling. The seventh 
grade sex education class took advantage of the life situation of two faculty 
members — one a pregnant mother, Amy Cholnoky [MS teacher 1983-85]; the other 
an expectant father, Ken Lewandowski [science 1983-86] — and invited them to 
class to talk about awaiting their babies. Meanwhile, as Goss took on more 
administrative duties during the decade, it became impossible to continue the 
health program on the upper school level as he envisioned it. In its place, one of 
the trimester courses became devoted to health or some variation on health such as 
"skills in living." 

Alcohol Awareness 

The awareness of substance abuse at the School probably reached its zenith in 1986 
and 1987 when student journalists were describing alcohol awareness and taking 
their parents to task for imbibing on campus. The March 1986 issue of the student 
newspaper devoted the front page to Alcohol Awareness Day, a follow-up to the 
the "Day" held two years previously. A school-day morning was devoted to the 
program, beginning at 8:30 with a presentation by alcoholic teenagers describing 
their experiences and answering questions from the students at large. The second 
fifty-minute period was spent in small group discussions dealing with three topics: 
the Alateen program, the process of enabling and the clinical picture of the teenage 
alcoholic. The rest of the morning was devoted to a discussion on the SADD 
(Students Against Drunk Driving) program. 

In the same issue of the paper was the first of several attacks on the School's policy 
regarding the serving of alcohol to parents at school functions on campus. One of 


the articles, by Aviva Cahn '86, dealt with the first Interim Night potluck dinner. 
She commented on it being a family night to be enjoyed by all and asked: 

So why was alcohol served by a bartender in a white jacket? ... Is it really 
necessary to serve alcohol at a school-related function where kids are in 
attendance? Is it too much to expect a school which discourages teenage 
parties with alcohol and [encourages] anti-drunk driving commitments to 
heed their own advice? I think not. Parents enjoyed the evening and would 
have, with or without the wine served. 

In succeeding years Interim Night was held without the potluck supper — and 
without the wine. 

Cahn's article then moved into a more sensitive area, the annual Woman's Board 
Auction. She advocated that the consumption of alcohol be limited to "perhaps 

just a glass of good wine served to every parent " She was also concerned 

about "driving home under the influence after the Auction." 

Another student journalist, Eric Swanson '86, in the same issue used stronger 
language to express what he called "this great hypocrisy." He pointed out: 

It has been a long standing tradition at this School to educate its students 
about the dangers of drinking and driving. Health class, the alcohol 
interim, and so-called "alcohol days" are evidence of this. As of yet a 
SADD (Students Against Driving Drunk) program has not been set up, but 
soon one probably will be. 

It's fine and dandy to preach the dangers of alcohol to students; after all, it 
is illegal to drink under the age of twenty-one in Illinois. One can't expect 
the School to condone teenage drinking. My problem stems from 
something that has come to be a tradition at North Shore: the Auction. At 

this Auction, there is an open bar How do you think these . . . parents 

get home? They drive, of course Some form of alcohol awareness, eh? 

The question of alcohol was again raised following the auction of 1987 by another 
student journalist. A member of the Woman's Board responded in the student 
newspaper (April 20, 1987): 

Every year, [since 1980], the Woman's Board has held an Auction. It has 
been a profitable vehicle to fund such projects as the Teacher's Endowment 

Fund, fire doors and windows Last, but not least, it has helped fund a 

school newspaper. It is a way to help the teenagers have a hand at 
journalism. We applaud the newspaper and freedom of speech. However, 
exercising that freedom, I must take issue with the concept that the Auction 
is one giant bacchanal. It is a lovely, elegant evening where liquor is served 
to adult guests who attend. I cannot see where this is a bad influence on 
our children. I would not feel remiss taking my children to a restaurant that 
served alcohol to its patrons. 


. . . We provide alcohol as a courtesy, not a mandatory function. I have 
never seen anyone leave the gym [where the Auction is held] inebriated 

... Just as there are those of you who are sixteen and "legally" able to drive, 
there are those of us who are over twenty-one and "legally" able to have a 
drink. . . . 

Both activities, driving and taking a drink (not together) are actions that 
take a responsible individual to handle. It is not the function of the Auction 
to determine an adult's maturity level. It is also not our children's. 

We have a great deal of faith in all of you. Please extend to us the same 

Barbara Heinz 

At the same time as students were concerned about their parents' drinking, they 
were also concerned about their own "rights" in this regard. Another article on the 
use of alcohol — this one dealing with students themselves drinking at parties — 
was printed in the February 2, 1987 issue of the student newspaper. Andrew 
Brown '87 wrote: 

This school year, a few parties (three to be exact) have been held in which 
alcohol has been present. Low-key affairs, no more than thirty to thirty-five 
people have shown up. No one coerced students to attend and a variety of 
soft drinks was available to those not wishing to drink. As is customary, 
anyone who wished was provided the option of spending the night. As a 
result of this custom, I, in my four years of attending North Shore parties, 
have never seen anyone leave drunk. This is not coincidental; it is because 
students care about each other. 

Recently, the P.A. [Parents' Association] sponsored a series of meetings in 
which they formed a coalition termed Parent Peer Groups. At these 
meetings, parents decided they would do away with the evils confronting 
the student body, among these, alcohol. To prove their serious intent, one 
of the members phoned the police to inform them that illegal consumption 
of alcohol would occur at the home of a North Shore student 

1. Why, if drinking has been going on at parties for years, did the P.A. 
choose this year for its coalition? 

2. Why must a coalition be formed to control other people's children? It 
would seem that that job is best left to individual parents. Is the P.A. 
implying that North Shore parents are doing a poor job at raising their 

3. Have students been given any knowledge of or input into these 


4. When no freshmen or, for the most part, any underclassmen attend these 
gatherings, why is a freshman parent playing such a key role in this 

5. What happened to our right of privacy? 

6. How far will the P.A. go? Are you willing to have a member of the 
student body or his parents arrested? 

In the same issue of the student paper was a response to Brown — an article 
entitled, "Plimpton Peeved at Parent/Peer Pundits." David Plimpton '88 went to 
great lengths to distinguish each of the parent groups so they wouldn't be 
confused with each other and then went on to say: 

The spark which seems to have set all this confusion in motion is an 
incident earlier in the year in which a concerned parent notified the police 
of a potentially illegal situation, a party in which alcohol was rumored to be 
available. While the parent is a member of both the P.A. and the Peer 
Groups, she acted independently. Assumptions were made by some, 
including members of this newspaper's staff, that this parent had acted as a 
spokesperson for both organizations. With this type of reasoning, wouldn't 
we be inclined to believe that individual members of an ethnic group 
represent the philosophy of the group as a whole. I think the danger of this 
logic is obvious. 

The decision to call the police was a moral decision of the person who felt it 
important to get involved. None of this had anything to do with the School 
or the P.A. or the Woman's Board or the Peer Groups. Why condemn the 
groups as a whole? These parents, the same ones who also pay tuition, 
should be applauded for the work they do, not chastised. If the dissenting 
students would perhaps attend a meeting of one of these groups, as I did, 
perhaps they might be enlightened. If they still don't like the way things 
are done, that is their prerogative, but at least they will be speaking from a 
position of knowledge, not based on hearsay. In the future, let's all work to 
get complete information before coming to (often misguided) conclusions. 

The lively dialogue concerning controversial issues was expected in the school 
community, both because the vehicles for controversy had been strengthened — 
the student newspaper, now called The Diller Street Journal, and a viable student 
council on both the upper and middle school levels — and because the student 
body had become more diverse. 

Student Diversity 

The School took great pride in its student diversity during the eighties. Such 
diversity had, in fact, been an injunction of the Long Range Plan of 1981. In 
response to the plan, international student programs were vigorously pursued — 


The English-Speaking Union, ASSIST (American Secondary Schools for 
International Students and Teachers), The Rotary Program and AFS (American 
Field Service). In addition, aggressive recruitment increased in Chicago, aided by 
such programs as ABC (A Better Chance), an organization which identified 
talented minority youngsters and provided scholarships to independent schools. 

A substantial increase in the budget was allocated for financial aid. The Board 
reaffirmed the "goal of a student body with fifteen to twenty percent of its students 
on scholarship." 

Another way of encouraging student diversity was the special Music Major 
Program in conjunction with the Music Center of the North Shore located on 
campus since the mid-fifties. Throughout the relationship between the Music 
Center and the School, the idea of a music major had been a possibility, but Hall 
re-emphasized the appeal of such an opportunity. The connection between the two 
institutions also reinforced Hall's vision of the campus as a cultural center for the 
whole North Shore. 

Some parents who lived on the North Shore selected Country Day over local public 
schools because of the diversity of the student body. But the variety of 
backgrounds also demanded and deserved awareness and respect. Student 
journalist, Binay Cahn '88, noted in the February 2, 1987 school newspaper, 

NSCDS FACTS, a pamphlet distributed by the School for the purposes of 
information to prospective students, contains the statement that the School 
is composed of and accepts students from "any race, nationality, religion, or 
ethnic background." The annual holiday festivities around the School 
illustrate that some don't know or care that this philosophy exists. 

Although the dominance of Christmas decorations throughout the School 
and in file lunch room (I counted; two out of thirty-one festive designs dealt 
with Channukah) is annoying, my real dissatisfaction stems from the upper 

school contribution to the annual Christmas Concert I am merely 

suggesting that songs be chosen which are appropriate to everyone's beliefs. 

The mid-eighties was no longer a time when the story of Luke at Christmas time 
spoke to the experience of almost all of the students as it had in the early days of 
the School. The ninth grade was no longer performing the medieval Christmas 
play, nor was the art department producing the Christmas tableaux in conjunction 
with the music department. With the increasing diversity of students, a growing 
number of religious backgrounds could now be found in the School. The format 
for the winter holiday celebration had become a series of concerts: by the lower 
school, by the middle and upper schools, and by the Diller St. Chorale (an adult 
chorus, among whom were several faculty members). In reaction to the questions 
raised by Cahn, the next issue of the student paper carried a response by faculty 
member Joyce Lopas, head of the language department and coordinator of the 
International Student Program: 


Certainly, the words of "The Magnificat" are problematical for many 
students. I have experienced some of these same mixed feelings in my 
work with the Diller St. Chorale. The multicultural program of the lower 
school pleased me enormously and was, of course, very close to my heart, 
as I'm responsible for . . . "internationalizing" our School. Indeed, there are 
excellent choral works by Jewish and other composers which we should 
have a chance to learn and to hear, to say nothing of an expanded 
international repertoire. Such modification would enrich everyone's 
understanding and appreciation of the cultural riches of our world. 

The Channukah/Christmas question is not simple. Channukah was never 
a major Jewish holiday until the Jewish community made it so when it 
found itself in the American diaspora, in response to Christmas. Israelis 
barely notice it, and rabbis of old also wanted to ignore it, considering the 
historic events too unhistoric to be worthy of honor. Because of my own 
upbringing and orientation, I have always enjoyed celebrating Christmas in 
school life and Channukah at home. We Jews of the West do live in a 
Christian world and continue to find it a challenge (sometimes positive, 
historically often negative) to find our place in it. 

I hope to see NSCDS continue in its direction of educating ourselves for a 
pluralistic world here and around the planet. Our music program and other 
facets of school life can help us all to see the cultural riches around us. 

The Minority Students 

One of the cultural riches of the School during the eighties was the presence of the 
diverse group of students. Members of the Minority Union, a out-growth of the 
student council of the late eighties, included Indians, Asians, Hispanics, African 
Americans, South Americans, Tropical Islanders. In one sense, the international 
students had an easier time of it than the youngsters who commuted from Chicago, 
especially from the South Side of the city, because the latter often had to travel one 
to two hours each way each day. Such a journey during the bitter days of winter 
often demanded heroic fortitude. Other sacrifices were demanded of these 
youngsters: giving up friendships either because friends were jealous of their 
coming to a private school or because there simply was no time for socializing; 
seeing their families split over the choice of a private suburban school; feeling they 
were missing out on the mystique of public school life. As Marilyn Young '90 
put it: 

I still feel like I missed out because I came in eighth grade. I really missed 
the public school eighth grade graduation. It's so special because a lot of 
kids don't make it out of high school. Here [at NSCDS] it's just natural to 
graduate from college as well as high school, so eighth grade is insignificant. 
[At the ceremony] you stand up; you sit down. In the public school in 
Chicago, eighth grade graduation may be the only big thing [in a kid's life], 
and so everyone treats it like that. 


Nor was life at school very easy. Stereotypes, the students discovered, are not easy 
to break down, and they sneak into conversation and behavior in subtle — and not 
so subtle — ways. One of the boys mentioned a recent field trip to the Art 

Our bus pulled up next to a bus with little black kids on it, and the kids 
were holding up gang signs. And someone asked me what was the gang 
sign for the Latin Kings. I said, "I am not Hispanic, and I am not a member 
of a gang — so, sorry, I would not know!" 

One of the girls mentioned her experience: 

So many people here tell me how to feel about what other people say. So 
many people were flipping out about the Minority Union. Somebody said 
to me, "Why is it you're gathering in that room to bash us?" I said, "We're 
not trying to bash you. We're not even thinking about you. We're talking 
about us." 

Why then did the minority students make these kinds of sacrifices to attend The 
North Shore Country Day School? All of those interviewed said their parents 
encouraged them to come. Moreover, they were beginning to see the impact of the 
North Shore experience: 

I can talk to anyone now and feel comfortable. 

I understand there are stereotypes on both ends, but I can communicate 
with any race of people now that I've been at North Shore. I could even live 
with them if I had to. 

The kind of world we're going to be living in — the kind of job that I want 
anyway, computer science — will most likely be the kind of world I'm 
finding out here [at North Shore]. 

Many of the minority students became student leaders; they were elected as 
homeroom officers and representatives to the student council and became 
members of the newspaper and yearbook staffs. Their presence was important on 
the athletic teams. They often had leads in the opera and participated with great 
enthusiasm in chorus. 

Vin Allison Retires 

The music program, which had been so greatly enriched by Vin Allison for thirty- 
four years, lost its leader in June of 1986. As had Ramsey Duff [1931-49] before him 
and, prior to that, Nina Babcock Bailey [1922-30], so Vin Allison had come to 
embody the soul of the music program at The North Shore Country Day School. 
The holiday productions, the Vaudevilles, the Morning Ex sing-alongs, the 


Commencement send-offs and, above all, the operas — all of these events were 
marked by the talent and spirit of Vin Allison. Even those alumni who had 
protested mandatory chorus acknowledged Mr. Allison as a positive force in their 

His final production in 1986 was Yeoman of the Guard, one of the most musically 
demanding of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. It had been performed in the 
School's history only four times before. Fortunately, the student talent that year 
warranted taking on the challenge again. 

At the end of May, a grand farewell party was held for Allison; it turned out to be a 
musical extravaganza. Nancy Green Whiteman 71, alumni director at the time, 
orchestrated the party and described it in the NSCDS Bulletin (Fall 1986): 

The planning began a year in advance for the May 25th celebration 

[The special day] began with a . . . concert of performers, former Allison 

students who now make music their career [Included were] music and 

song ranging from Carmen and The Pirates of Penzance to "Honeysuckle 

The concert ended with a surprise chorus coordinated by Angie Galbraith 
Brown '65. It featured approximately one hundred alumni, faculty and 
former parents. Mr. Allison was asked to come to the stage to conduct this 
"ultimate chorus" as Sheldon Rosenbaum [resident pianist 1965-83] played 

the piano accompaniment Alumni classes spanning the years 1936 to 

1985 were represented 

The dinner . . . was held in [the East Gym, which would be renamed] the 

Mac McCarty Gymnasium [at homecoming the following October] 

Because the Mikado was to be performed after dinner, the menu was 
Japanese cuisine. Awaiting the guests as they entered the transformed gym, 
was a large buffet of oriental delights over which hung a thirty-foot paper 
dragon. It was majestic in size and displayed glorious shades of red, pink 
and yellow. The dinner tables accented these colors with red tablecloths, 
pink napkins and oriental orchid centerpieces. Around the room hung 
large felt banners in various colors, displaying each of the School's G&S 
operettas and the years they were performed. 

The tributes to Mr. Allison began after dinner Bruce Blair '69 had 

prepared a special tribute by the "VBA Deadbeats," those non-chorus-types 

who were often sent out of the room for unacceptable conduct The 

group sang music from The Mikado with slightly doctored lyrics The 

culmination of the tribute was the presentation of a soft sculpture [lectern] 
with a lever that raised a giant hand holding the word "out." 

The Mini-Mikado was the last event of the musical celebration. Mr. Allison, 
donning coat and tails, raised his baton to lead an eager group of alumni in 
song and antics. 


In the fall of 1986, Vin Allison was no longer director of the North Shore chorus. 
By February 1987, chorus was no longer mandatory. The Student Council had 
presented a proposal to the upper school faculty that winter to create a voluntary 
chorus following the opera in the spring. The faculty agreed, with certain 
stipulations worked out by Richard Hall, Lance Curlin (interim head of upper 
school for one year) and Geoffrey Holland (director of music at North Shore for 
one year). A decision was made to schedule chorus as a course during the 
school day in the coming years, as opposed to an after-school activity, as it had 
been, and to make it a fine arts elective. With those changes, chorus would be 
graded and carry with it one-half credit a year. 


It was during Vin Allison's last year that Dick Hall decided to assume the role of 
director of Vaudeville. In prior schools, Hall had gained considerable experience 
as a theatre director, but this was the first time he had tried it at North Shore. He 
was determined to shift Vaudeville once again from a Morning Ex talent show to a 
two-act evening production. The experience also gave Hall the opportunity to get 
to know the students in a different light. The resulting show presented twenty-five 
acts, involving not only students from all three divisions but a large number of 
faculty members as well. One of the highlights for the faculty was Vin Allison's 
directing them in a classical composition on Orff instruments which lower school 
music teacher Linda Gibson [1978-present], who ordinarily used them for musical 
training of the children, had taught the faculty how to play. 

Student Activities 

Vaudeville was only one example of Dick Hall's taking control of a student activity 
which he sensed needed some new inspiration and direction. The attitude of the 
administration in the late seventies was that if the students wanted certain 
activities such as student government, yearbook, student newspaper or vaudeville, 
they would get themselves organized and make it happen. When the student 
leadership was effective and the student body cooperative, things did happen; but 
that was not as often as Dick Hall felt it should happen. The nadir was 1978-79 
when most of the yearbook photographs were burned in a serious fire in the art 
center; and the yearbook that spring ended up being a pamphlet. This was not 
what Hall wanted representing the School to the outside world. He stepped in as 
yearbook advisor his very first year, and the resulting yearbook of 1980 was 
admirable. The following year he inspired a regrouping of the upper school 
student council and met with them regularly at early evening meetings. By his 
third year he ensured that a student newspaper was once again published on a 
regular schedule. 

When he experienced his first Work Day in the fall of 1979, Hall was distressed by 
the lack of organization and wasted time. Determined to do something about such 


a boondoggle, he investigated ways of upgrading the experience. Within a couple 
of years he had the logistics of the day tightened up on campus under the 
leadership of art teacher Mary Wagner [1980-present]. Then, in his exploration of 
further possibilities, he discovered that even in the affluent village of Winnetka 
there were elderly people who could use help with raking their leaves. That was 
the solution. Hall thought, both to making Work Day truly a work day and to 
incorporating social service into the students' experience at the School. As sensible 
as the plan seemed, however, there was a serious flaw: the students had not been 
consulted. The seniors, especially, were outraged that their treasured activity of 
planting tulip bulbs with their little kindergarten buddies was scheduled out of the 
day in favor of social service. The student newspaper was filled with angry articles 
and the student council, with lively debates. A committee of students met with the 
headmaster and reached a compromise: the schedule would be stretched to 
accommodate both the planting and the serving. From that time on, raking leaves 
for the elderly in the surrounding community became an integral part of Work Day 
— along with planting tulip bulbs by the kindergartners with their seniors. 

Hall's leadership skills in each of these endeavors were evident: he recognized a 
problem (usually lack of organization and integrating purpose); he stepped in as 
organizer (in the process, getting to know the students better); then he stepped 
aside after selecting a faculty member to continue as advisor (his way of inspiring 
and stretching his teachers and staff). From point to point, Hall moved through the 
life of the School — investigating, prodding, organizing, inspiring — but 
sometimes in such a hurry to reform that teachers often felt their focus on teaching 
was being dissipated or fragmented by all the other diverting, albeit interesting, 
challenges. Along with the improvement of the School in a remarkably short time 
came a very subtle build-up of tension. 

Hall had an uncanny ability for identifying and developing leadership potential 
among his faculty and staff. The tasks he invited one to — or assigned, depending 
on one's perspective — were never easy. But they were always interesting and 

Lower School 

Robert Kramer [1981-90] was identified as a leader very soon after his arrival at 
North Shore in the autumn of 1981. Kramer, a graduate of Georgetown and the 
University of Chicago, and a teacher with experience both in the Chicago public 
and parochial school systems, was urged by friends who were alumni of North 
Shore to join the faculty when the much-loved Kathleen Collingboume [1948-81] 
retired from the lower school staff. He recalled his early perceptions of 
Country Day: 

Unfortunately, in my mind at that time, the label "progressive" from my 
education courses, had become a label of derision and scorn. When I talked 
with alumni of the School, they did not refer to it as progressive but indeed 
described it in such a progressive way that my impression was that this was 


a place where they were doing something different. And, after having 
experience in the public schools, as well as in the parochial schools, I 
realized in listening to their description, whether it was of the Morning Ex 
or of the curriculum or the field trips or the kindergartners and the seniors, 
it was a different place 

I was directed from the start by Tom Doar [head of lower school, 1980-87] to 
— and he never used the term — be as progressive as possible. That is my 
interpretation of his words. Tom had a real sense of the necessary things vs. 
the important things. It was very necessary to have good basic skills 
education so the children learned to read, to write and to think properly, to 
be able to work with numbers. But he also understood the importance of a 
great deal of fun and relevance in lower school education. So he saw the 
importance of an integrated approach. He saw no reason for basal readers 
in third, fourth and fifth grade; there was plenty of good children's 
literature out there that could be used against the children's social studies 
background. If they were studying U.S. history in third grade, they should 
be reading novels or biographies that related to that. There was a sense in 
the School, especially among the older faculty, that that was what good 
independent schools and progressive education stood for. That was the 
kind of education that I had been trying to do in the Chicago schools and 
met nothing but resistance 

The nice thing about the lower school is that one teacher has control over 
the curriculum for that class. I would begin the day, for instance, with the 
front page of the N. Y. Times. Then we would build classes on the 
information of the day. When major events are happening, that's where 
you will teach kids best, right from the moment, instead of waiting till you 
get to it in the history books twenty-five years later. 

I brought in video. We played it back for children to look at themselves, 
building not only a sense of what they were studying but also a sense of 
themselves. Another important piece of the lower school curriculum was 
that self identity and self image were as important as learning the contents 
of literature 

When I taught fifth grade, we used to play the Airplane Game where we 
would go to a country, research the country, become a character in that 
country, write a dialog, make a passport, do a ticket, study the flag, the 
colors, the song. We were combining all the skills — research, writing, art, 
public speaking, the ability to put together something over a long period 
of time. 

We were encouraged to teach units that had almost a theatrical aspect to 
them, so that we could prepare things that could be put on stage for 
Morning or Afternoon Ex. I said to Tom Doar that the fifth grade would be 
responsible for Afternoon Ex [a lower school activity on Fridays]. Several 
of my students had a little band that year and would perform. Parents were 


calling to see if I could get their child into the band — as if I had anything to 
do with it. We had a poem of the week that we presented at Afternoon Ex. 
A wonderful creative time 

In thinking about contrasts with other schools, several things came to Kramer's 


... the whole child approach, the Morning Ex, the integrated curriculum, 
the team teaching, the ability to work with other teachers from other grade 
levels. It was not uncommon to find first grade coming down[stairs] to 
fifth grade for the afternoon so that we could do our puppet shows. In 
literature class, we would write our plays about a specific scene from a 
novel, while Mary Wagner [1980-present] and her art class were making the 
characters into puppets. Then the first grade would get wind of it and 

come down and become our audience There was a wonderful sense of 

continuum, of the ability of kids to look ahead and realize, oh. I'll be in fifth 
grade some day too. 

One of the differences with public and parochial schools is that there 
everyone has a room, and they stay in their room and never go anywhere. 
Children are often frightened to go down the hallway to another part of the 
building because they've never been there before. Yet that never was the 
case in lower school here. You would see older children saying to the little 
ones, "I'll help you find it." A wonderful sense of kindness and family and 

Sarah Opdycke [fourth grade 1982-present] joined the faculty a year after I 

did We started to do a lot of things together and built a fourth and fifth 

grade curriculum that included a continuous social studies and literature 
curriculum. We would go on field trips together. . . . The School 
encouraged the use of Chicago as a resource. 

Teaching Intern Program 

By the second year of Kramer's tenure at North Shore [1982], Dick Hall had already 
identified a way of challenging his leadership ability; that was to start the intern 
program. He was to: 

. . . start bringing in some young trainees to work with experienced faculty 
members because we found that with the increasing diversity of students, 
there was a need for more small group activity. We needed more teaching 
hands in the classroom. In addition, fire administration wanted to stretch 
enrollment to twenty-five in a class, with the idea that there would be some 
assistance. Well, there was no formal program at the time, so we had to 
scatter and find people who would help us do math, for instance, because it 
was obvious we needed two groups in math. I remember I called around to 
places like National College and Barat and other schools that had bachelors 


programs in education and found very little interest. There is a state law 
that does not allow certification to be given in private school settings. You 
cannot be certified unless you teach in a fully accredited public school. It 
really was an eye-opener bcause we realized that our hope would not be in 
undergraduate education. We were looking for a way to tie into a program 
so that we would not have to give a tremendous amount of pay. 

What was fortunate was that a school parent had a cousin who married a 
mem who had been a banker and didn't like his job and thought that 
teaching was something he might want to do. He said he would be willing 
to give it a try and come and do some math teaching. He came aboard as 

the first intern in the lower school program He now teaches at an 

independent school in Connecticut Then others joined that same year. 

The following September, after we had gotten our feet wet and realized 
what it meant to have interns in the classroom, and to monitor them, and 
then to evaluate them and talk about pay ... we went into the program 
with both feet. We had almost every grade covered, so the program grew. 
Eventually, it was institutionalized. It has just made a world of difference 
in instruction, in terms of flexibility, the ability to take duty and spread it 
out over a larger group. The interest level is much higher as a result of it. 
There are more hands, more information. 

It has been an interesting mix of people. Some are enrolled in masters' 
programs after school. Most of the interns come to us already with a 
masters degree. Or they have bachelors degrees and are interested in 
seeing if education is where they might want to go. It's difficult to be in a 
full-time program because of the time limit. We require full-time work, 
meaning from eight in the morning until six at night. Some take extra 
courses or find that they only have two or three courses left so they finish 
up while they are in the intern program. Some are former teachers who did 
a year or two and then married and now want to get back into the 

profession They like the flexibility of the program. The original intent 

though was to provide young people an opportunity to learn what good 
classroom teaching is and also to provide the school with a source of young 
talent who could help out with things like coaching extra-curriculars, and 
just in general to be an aid to the master teacher. By the end of the first 
term, all the interns are doing full-time teaching under the guidance and 
leadership of the master teachers. 

One year is now the term of duty. It's real hard to leave after two years. 

We prepare people for careers in independent schools; most of them have 
placed very well. They have all ended up teaching. Taking a lot of care and 
attention with the interns is real important because if you do not have a 
proper personality match with your master teacher, you're going to be in 
real trouble. Virtually every case has worked out very well. 


Middle School 

In 1985 Hall offered Kramer another challenge — the headship of the middle 
school. The timing seemed rather natural because that was the year Kramer's 
intern, Richard Hart, left for Australia. Kramer recalled: 

I had been made assistant head of the lower school in my third year. I did a 
curricular study of the lower school and took on more things for Tom Doar 
because he had become director of admissions. 

There is something to be said about the cyclical nature of being head of a 
middle school. [Julie Hall had been middle school head for five years, 
1980-85, and wished to return to the classroom.] So Julie and I, like ships in 
the night, crossed the courtyard with our bundles and packages and became 
alter-egos. She was the new fifth grade teacher, and I was head of the 
middle school. 

We instituted some new programs. The Northwestern [University] study 
told us some things we needed to do, like revamping the sports program 
and putting the social activities program into place for kids after school and 

at night. I had a lot of help from middle school mothers We opened up 

a school store and were able to buy things for the school from the profits. 

We started opening up the middle school to outside schools New Trier 

came in to interview kids who were going to high school there We have 

a nice working relationship now with their office and with Loyola and with 
Evanston. We're on a first name basis. We've also allowed boarding 
schools to come — not to recruit — to talk with the teachers and me and to 
send their literature. It has made all of us feel better. 

Julie Hall had set up the grade head system, which was a real help to the 
head of the middle school. It is a system that is working well, especially 
now in my own personal crisis. [Bob Kramer was battling cancer in 1990.] 

Kramer's indomitable sense of humor, his spirit of fun and his keen skills in 
organization left an indelible mark on The North Shore Country Day School. 
Tragically, this extremely gifted person died of cancer in October of 1990. 

Building the New Library 

Seven years after Dick Hall arrived on campus, he was ready to oversee one of the 
most significant achievements of his professional life: the construction of a building 
that would be not just a school library, but an educational and cultural resource 
center for the whole community. The planning had begun very soon after Hall's 
arrival as the new headmaster. 


The Original Library 

The library project was not without controversy. From the time of the completion 
of Dunlap Hall in 1922, the library of the upper school had been located on its top 
floor. During most of those sixty-five years, the facility was under the care not of 
professional librarians but of dedicated volunteer mothers, especially Anne Strong 
and Elizabeth Johnson. The first professional librarian was Stephanie Wishart who 
came in 1953, Perry Smith's final year as headmaster. Regrettably she died in May 
of 1960, and the School again depended on the services of volunteer mothers. For 
one year (1973-74) a middle and upper school social studies teacher, L. Jack Roth 
[1970-74] stepped in as audio-visual coordinator. It was not until 1974 that a 
professional librarian again entered the picture, at the strong recommendation of 
the ISACS Evaluation of 1973. Marie Lundquist was hired, a trained librarian and 
media specialist, who stimulated the development of films, video, microfiche and 
computer resources. Under her expertise, the library became a true resource 

When Mrs. Lundquist entered the top floor of Dunlap Hall in 1974, it was a 
somewhat dreary place: dark, dusty, time-wom. By the end of her first year, she 
had brightened the room with color and light, plants and displays from her many 
travels. Returning alumni often commented on the warm, inviting atmosphere 
that now enveloped that upper level. The ISACS Evaluation team of 1980 
commended "the attractive and pleasant room, one of the most effective in 
appearance in the building." The problem, however, was the location, removed as 
it was from the "center" of academic activity. The strongest recommendation to 
come out of the 1980 study was to proceed: 

. . . with a professional architectural consultant skilled in media resource 
planning, toward the development of a truly viable long-range building 
move for the central media center. 

Planning a New Library 

The recommendation from the evaluation of 1980 turned into a directive by the 
Long Range Plan of 1981; and the Board of Trustees' Buildings and Grounds 
Committee gave serious investigation to the idea of a new library. As chairman of 
the Buildings and Grounds Committee, Jack Burnell, brother and father of alumni, 
was in charge of overseeing the construction. The story is now picked up by Diane 
Dorn, who described what happened next in the NSCDS Bulletin (Spring 1987): 

. . . Their ideas were turned over to a faculty-staff committee [led by Eunice 
Jackson] which proposed building a facility to serve grades JK to 12. They 
believed a one-story structure, with areas for audio-visual work, a computer 
center and the traditonal library materials would be ideal. A collection of 
32,000 volumes for 450 students was the projected goal. 

The following year was devoted to turning the dream into a reality. The 
architectural firm of Nagle and Hartray was chosen, and the School began 
the Endowing Educational Excellence Campaign to raise $3.5 million 


A second library committee was formed in June, 1983 [following the death 
of Eunice Jackson]. Chaired by Adrienne Weisse, this group included 
members from all areas of the school family and would continue to be a 
guiding force long after the building was finished. 

Initially, the committee met with three consultants: Pauline Anderson, 
retired librarian from Choate-Rosemary Hall; Tom Brown, librarian from 
New Trier High School; and Jim Godfrey, librarian and Head of the Upper 
School at Rye Country Day School, Rye, New York, where a K-12 library 
had recently been built. 

After viewing the architect's presentations, the committee discussed the 
advantages of a JK-12 facility: there would be no need to maintain duplicate 
collections, and "stretching" younger students with older students serving 
as important role models would continue the School's family atmosphere. 

A meeting with students produced other recommendations. They 
suggested: 1) an expanded library facility that would be immediately 
accessible and provide a familiar surrounding in which to work; 

2) additional hours in the evenings and during the summer; and 3) quiet 
areas in which to work with others and places to relax and read. 

After collecting suggestions from students and teachers, the committee sent 
a survey to independent schools around the country asking for advice and 
ideas. North Shore teachers also visited local school libraries and returned 
with ideas for library use and new materials for their own disciplines. The 
results of the visits, survey and the recommendations were compiled in a 
report submitted by Mrs. Weisse in May 1984. 

Because a library is most effectively used when its resources are integrated 
with the curriculum, the new library will be staffed by teachers currently on 
the faculty. Julie Hall will serve as the Library Program Director. ... "I am 
especially excited about working with lower school teachers to create 
programs that are extensions of their classrooms," says Mrs. Hall. "There 
are endless possibilities for projects like book publishing, storytelling and 
book reviews, among others." Mrs. Weisse will work with Mrs. Hall on 
upper school programs 

Sue Clement [middle school and upper school science 1980-87] is 
concentrating on uses for the new facility in the areas of math and science. 
She sees the library as a resource for videotapes, scientific models and 
speakers. Marie Lundquist [who did such a substantial job in upgrading 
the original library/resource center] will continue organizing the library's 
daily operation. She plans to install a computerized card catalog and to join 
the Dialog Information Services which provides immediate access to more 
than one million items of information and receives Microwave Television 
Services via New Trier Township Television/Film Cooperative. 


The selected location was the area between the auditorium and arts center and the 
lower and middle schools. The playground equipment had to be moved from that 
area — much to the regret of the lower school faculty members — to an area near 
the tennis courts and the circle drive. A high fence was erected to protect the 
playing children. 

Protests against the building of the library seemed to center around two issues: 
one, the encroachment on precious open space on the sixteen-acre campus; and 
two, the question of whether a facility of such grand proportion as that planned 
would get sufficient student use to warrant the expense involved. Because 
students came from such dispersed geographical areas, the practice had been to 
use the public libraries within their own communities. 

The Groundbreaking 

In spite of the reservations in some quarters, the plans proceeded. A 
groundbreaking ceremony, punctuated by a brass quintet, took place on a beautiful 
sunny day on May 22, 1986 during Morning Ex time. The event was described in 
the NSCDS Bulletin (Fall 1986): 

Student representatives were selected from each class, JK to 12. Equipped 
with gold-tipped shovels and wearing NSCDS hard hats, the students dug 
simultaneously at seven different points along the proposed foundation of 
the building. When this was completed. . . , the first pair of students pulled 
a bolt of ribbon connected to a stake at their digging site to the next point 
and passed it on to the students waiting there. 

The bolt passed from team to team until the last leg of the trip was 
completed, and the students had outlined the perimeter of their new library 
in purple and white. The entire student body was present to witness the 
ceremony which included short remarks by the chairman of the Board of 
Trustees, John A. Wing, the chairperson of the Library Committee, 

Adrienne Weisse and Headmaster Richard P. Hall. 

The brass ensemble sounded again as the students trouped back into their classes. 
With the air still reverberating from trumpets and children's voices, the workmen 
started on the year-long process of constructing this very special edifice. 

Diane Dom again picks up the story: 

. . . Many of the usual traffic patterns were disrupted by fences, barriers, the 
arrival of cement trucks and delivery of building materials. 

Besides these minor inconveniences, the construction provided some 
interesting experiences. With the roof of the new building located outside 
their window, the first graders have been able to watch the building 
process. A time capsule discovered in the middle school wall contained a 
Time magazine article on Perry Dunlap Smith, the 1955 student constitution. 


Students in hard hats break 
ground for the new library 
on May 22 , 1986. 

The library is in the space between the auditorium (left) and arts center and the lower (right) and 
middle (center) schools. 


Work on the entrance 
from the patio nears 

Julie Hall, program director of the library, reads to lower school children. 


descriptions of school events, written by students, signatures of students, 
faculty and staff [and sixteen slightly corroded pennies]. Another time 
capsule was found in the lower school. These records of school life from 
earlier times were returned to the wall when the structural work was 
complete. A time capsule for the new library was placed in April. 

Finding the Time Capsule 

Nancy Geyer [social studies 1978-90] was working in the business office that hot 
summer day when the work foreman brought in a battered metal box (about the 
size of a bread box). He said one of his workman had pulled it from the wall of the 
middle school which had been opened up to attach a wall of the library. The 
workman was ready to hack open the box when the foreman rescued it. Mrs. 
Geyer fairly leaped out of her chair; she knew immediately what it was. With Bob 
Beerheide [business manager 1979-present], she took it to the headmaster's office 
where Dick Hall joined them in carefully opening the box. The contents had the 
musty odor of treasures found in someone's damp basement. They closed up the 
box and put it away to be reopened in another two months with fitting ceremony 
at the fall Faculty/Board dinner. Dick Hall, like Perry Dunlap Smith, was 
remarkably astute in finding ways to bond his community through ceremony and 
ritual; he never missed an opportunity. 

Construction and Curriculum 

And the school community never missed an opportunity to expand ways of 
teaching and learning, seizing whatever possibilities might present themselves on 
campus. As the NSCDS Bulletin [Spring 1987] pointed out: 

... it is not surprising that this year's construction in the middle of the 
campus entered into the curriculum. 

Adapting to some measure of inconvenience such as parking unavailability 
and new routes for campus pedestrians, students and faculty have not only 
learned to cope but have also used the construction as the starting point for 
class projects. 

Beginning last year, the then fourth grade collected outside to watch 
workers make borings for ground samplings. This year's fourth grade 
"sketched the pit," according to lower school art teacher, Mary Wagner 
[1980-present], and have made subsequent sketches of the spot as work 

Mary O'Hara, lower school science teacher [1981-87], collected pieces of 
concrete and steel bars and pins for her second grade class and talked with 
them about the new library's foundation and wall construction. She then 
assigned soda straw structures to be built by the students. Mrs. O'Hara also 
spent time discussing structures with her fourth grade class using a book 
she found in Oxford, England. 


John Almquist [art 1962-present] set up an 8mm camera in the window of 
the art studio and shot continuously, frame by single frame, a film of the 
excavation of the site during the summer. Several months later a delighted 
Morning Ex audience watched this telescoped, pixilated vision of the 
beginnings of their library. That fall, during Interim Week in November, 

Bill Freisem's [social studies 1973-90] Interim group, studying architecture 
for the week, included an examination of the building project and a meeting 
with the architects. 

The Million Dollar Match 

Just because construction was started didn't insure that all would go smoothly in 
the building process. When it became evident that substantial additional funds 
would be needed, the Board of Trustees appealed first to the Village of Winnetka 
(only to discover that it lacked statutory authority), and then to the Village of 
Wilmette to "authorize issuance of $1.2 million in tax-exempt bonds on behalf of 
the project " 

The Pioneer Press newspaper published the story on March 5, 1987: 

Citing the School's contributions to the North Shore, school trustee 
Cameron Avery told the board, "The bond issue will be without cost to 
Wilmette, without risk to Wilmette, and without risking the bonding 
capacity of Wilmette." 

But trustees [of Wilmette] quickly reached a consensus that they were 
philosophically opposed to using bonding authority to benefit a private 
party without a quantifiable return for Wilmette. 

In spite of the dark cloud of unresolved financing, the progress on the building 
continued on schedule, and the doors opened to the School in September of 1987. 
That autumn at the Faculty/Board Dinner, along with the opening of the time 
capsule, a stunning announcement was made by John Ake, chairman of the Board 
of Trustees. Anonymous donors had made a gift of $1 million in honor of 
Headmaster Richard P. Hall. The gift, for salary endowment, was to be matched 
by the School community. This gift and the match, if raised, would finance 
increased faculty salaries and the remainder of the library as well. 

The Year of Building 

The challenge was set. The 1986-87 school year was begun with renewed hope. 
That was the year of concrete trucks and construction trailers, porta-potties and 
cyclone fencing; the year the gravel road slashed across the campus, and Paul, the 
little Friar Tuck-like man from Eastern Europe, stood sentry next to the auditorium 
— no matter what the weather — to ensure the safety of the children as they 
crossed the path of the construction trucks; the year the neighbors sat watching, 
waiting for any infringements on the School's agreement that there would be as 


little disruption to the community as possible; the year Bob Beerheide turned out 
weekly progress reports from the business office to the faculty and neighbors, 
warning them of any new sources of noise or traffic; the year that parts of the 
middle school were tom up because the northeast comer was to be attached to the 
new library; the year the seventh graders came to inhabit the upper school: simply 
moved in — desks, books, lockers, pre-adolescent noise and all; and the year the 
upper school faculty discovered it was kind of nice making some new smaller 
friends, and vice versa. 

Fortunately, the weather was relatively mild that year. By the time the overcast 
days of mid-winter had set in, the exterior work was almost complete, and the 
workmen had moved inward, like moles, to burrow through the dark concrete 
rooms and make them habitable. By the time the warm days of late spring and 
early summer came, the stark, sterile structure was beginning to take on the aura of 
the artist's conception which had gripped the imagination of the School family. 

Like small birds hatching in the trees scattered around the campus that spring, so 
new ideas were hatching for wonderful activities to take place in this dream- 
structure. Even the roof invited extraordinary possibilities: additional parking 
(perish the thought!), place for a mounted telescope, warm-weather study space, 
picnic and square-dance area, base for a world map that could be chalk-colored by 
students during appropriate social studies units. 

Further encouragement came with a $35,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford 
Foundation (the second of three) for the upper school section of the new library. 
The Foundation's purpose was to "encourage and improve secondary education as 
provided by independent schools in the United States." The summer slipped into 
autumn as finishing touches brought construction to a close. Summer-sunned 
students returned to school; a new academic year was begun. But this year was 

The Library Opens 

After four years of steering library planning and construction down an often booby 
trapped road, Adrienne Weisse was able to heave a sign of relief and proudly say 
to the public in the Fall 1987 NSCDS Bulletin : 

What distinguished the opening of this school year from all of the sixty-nine 

preceding years? The new Library A number of inaugural events have 

been scheduled to appeal to the whole school community 

During Homecoming on Saturday, October 17, the Library was officially 
opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and balloon release during half- 
time of the football game 

The Family was the focus of the events in October. A Book Fair . . . was 
held. A committee ... is working with three Winnetka pre-schools and the 


Winnetka public schools to publicize a common philosophy of education 
from which parent education materials and programs will develop. 

Grandparents' Day . . . was celebrated ... by storyteller Jim May. As a 
follow-up, there were units on storytelling, storytellings at lunchtime and 
collections of tales told by grandparents. 

Further Inaugural Events 

Library inaugural events continued to embellish the School calendar during 

Visiting Authors, Art and Architecture 

The opening of the library's Art Gallery was the first official event held in the new 
building that fall. The Art Committee, led by Suzanne Folds McCullagh '69, a 
curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, chose for the opening exhibit the paintings 
of Tison Keel, class of '67 and graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute. This was 
the beginning of many exhibits. Working with the art faculty, the committee 
selected exibits to complement the curriculum; displays ranged from painting to 
pottery, from quilts to collages — faculty and student work as well as professional. 
Following the inaugural exhibit. Keel's presence lingered on campus; six of his 
paintings enhance several of the buildings of the School, the gift of an anonymous 
donor. There are other original works in the library by Brian Wildsmith, Natalie 
Babbit and Stokely Webster '30. 

In November, Gwendolyn Brooks, the Poet Laureate of Illinois and Pulitzer Prize 
winner, spent a day on campus, sandwiched between Morning Ex for students and 
"An Evening of Poetry: Reminiscences and Recitations" for adults. Students 
researched her life and work and, yes, wrote poems for her visit. 

In May of that year Natalie Babbitt, award-winning children's author and 
illustrator, came to campus and shared with the children and their parents some of 
the sources of her ideas. Another program focused on architecture. Beginning in 
May and finishing in June, Bill Hinchliff '64, by invitation of the Art Committee, 
presented a series of slide lectures on the history and architecture of Chicago's 
North Shore. 

Civil Rights 

During January, February and March, the 200th anniversary of the Constitution 
was celebrated by focusing on the Civil Rights Movement. The winter's events 
were coordinated by Scoot Dimon, new head of the upper school [1987-1991], 
educated at Davidson College and Emory University, who wrote his master's 
thesis on Civil Rights and the New South Politics. The climax of the series of 
Morning Exes presented by national and local Civil Rights leaders was a visit by 


the 1988 Harold H. Hines, Jr. Visiting Fellow, Dexter Scott King, son of Martin 
Luther King, Jr. 


In February 1988 the puppeteer Michael Montenegro, funded by the Illinois Arts 
Council, returned to the campus to work with students in his extraordinary style of 
puppetry and mask-making. The preceding year he had spent the autumn with 
the eighth grade class of 1987 preparing a puppet-play of Shakespeare's 
Macbeth, but as Nancy Travis [publications 1985-88] said: 

... It was not your typical hand-puppet production, but rather a skillfully 
constructed, massively organized project 

Preparation . . . began in September when the entire class read and studied 
themes in the Shakespeare play as part of their English curriculum. When 
this task was completed and the students were comfortable with the action 
within the play itself, work began on the construction of the puppets. 

. . . [E]ach student made two masks — Similarly the entire class 
participated in learning how Bunraku puppets are made, from general 
background to specific details on the construction of the movable, jointed 
limbs and hands. The Bunraku puppets were used in the production. 

Working in small groups for specialized construction projects, the students 
chose areas of special interest. While some groups carved pieces of wood 
and made joints and hands, others sewed costumes, padded the limbs or 
worked on the music and script 

When the basic construction had been completed, the students took turns 
learning to manipulate the puppets during improvisation workshops. The 
purpose of the exercises was to help the students become accustomed to 
working with the puppets as well as with each other. Each puppet, 
manipulated by a group of three students, required not only teamwork but 
a certain amount of anticipation, coordinating right hand with left, head 
with body. 

With the help of lighting, music, simple props and black-hooded players, 
the school community witnessed a truly professional production. 

The end result was spellbinding. Seldom had a Morning Ex audience sat in such 
mesmerized silence. 

During Montenegro's second visit, the eighth graders of 1988 worked primarily 
with masks. The freshman anthropology classes created shadow puppets and 
presented creation myths with light, shadow and percussion. 


The International Children's Book Collection 

Adrienne Weisse and her committee were justifiably proud of the International 
Children's Book Collection, which was unique to the area. Her commentary 
appeared in the Fall 1987 Bulletin : 

The collection will be composed of three types of works: 1) books written 
originally in a language other than English; 2) books translated or retold 
into English and 3) books originally in English translated into other 

The nucleus of the collection will be a complete set of the Batchelder Award 
books. These are books recognized by the American Library Association 
each year since 1966 as the finest translation of a foreign children's book into 
English. Mildred Batchelder, who lives in Evanston, will be a helpful 

Dick Hall was inspired to contact each of the international consulates in Chicago to 
request a representative children's book for the collection. A member of the 
Chinese consulate personally delivered a whole box of children's books! Hall was 
so excited he invited everyone who was on campus at the time to come into his 
office to see the treasure. Included in the large assortment was the Monkey Series 
of picture books as well as a twelve-book course in Chinese appropriate for 
elementary school-aged children. 

Julie Hall, program director of the library, commented: 

In the face of a continually shrinking globe, we hope the library will become 
a center for the exchange of international children's literature and the 
values and perspectives they represent. 

Beginning in 1987, the international exchange students were asked to contribute 
their favorite book to the collection. Sometime during the school year the students 
had the opportunity to read selections in their native language to the younger 
students. Members of the School community were also invited to contribute to the 
international collection by bringing gift books back from any travels abroad, 
keeping the collection very much alive. 

There was also a publishing center where student publications were on display and 
where books by alumni and copies of student work in national children's 
magazines could be seen and read. 

Other Activities 

Because of the large floor space, the library was ideal for displays (Science Fairs 
and Interim Nights), for lectures, slide presentations, and, on occasions, even 
concerts and formal dinners. Many people from the Chicago area, who had had no 
prior contact with the School, discovered its existence through attending one of 


such events. A cultural center for the whole North Shore area — the vision of Dick 
Hall and the Library Committee — had become a reality. 


Those seventh graders who had spent the construction year in the upper school 
returned to the renovated middle school to enjoy the new bright and spacious 
science and art rooms as eighth graders. The November 1987 Country 
Days described what happened: 

Still putting the finishing touches in the halls and on the walls during the 
first few weeks of school, the students from the School's middle division 
passed workmen in the corridors daily. When the work was all done, the 
seventh graders showed their appreciation by hosting a party for the school 
staff who had worked so hard in the summer and early fall to clean up and 
set up these new places to leam. 

When the construction trailers were finally removed, along with the fencing and 
the gravel road that had scarred the field in front of the Diller St. Theater; when the 
sod had been put in to repair the scars, and trees and shrubs to fill in some bare 
places; then the campus began to look more as it used to — with one big exception. 
Now, nestled into the space where once stood Eliot Hall of Girton and early 
NSCDS days, where once stood the playground of the lower and middle school 
children, there now stood the "One Building Serving Many Purposes" which had 
arisen from the imagination of the Long Range Planning Committee at the 
beginning of the decade. 

The Harold H. Hines, Jr. Fellowship 

The inspired leader of that committee had been Harold H. Hines, Jr., husband of 
Mary Pick Hines '49, father of three North Shore alumni, and dedicated member of 
the Board of Trustees. A man who had a firm personal commitment to service, he 
was constantly challenging the School to manifest its motto: "Live and Serve." The 
library was meant to express that motto on a community level by becoming a 
resource, not just for the School, but for the entire community. Regrettably, he 
never lived to see his dream come to fruition. He died suddenly in 1984, a great 
loss to the entire School family. In his memory his wife, family and friends 
established the Harold H. Hines, Jr. Visiting Fellowship to bring in outstanding 
individuals who would address the topic of ethics and service in the contemporary 
world. The first guest lecturer in 1985 was A. Bartlett Giamatti, then president of 
Yale University, the alma mater of Harold Hines. Giamatti spoke on ethics in 

In 1986 the guest was Franklin A. Thomas, President of the Ford Foundation, who 
spoke to the North Shore community on national service. Hoping to stimulate 
discussion of the idea of required social service at the high school level, he 
suggested that service as part of the high school or college curriculum then 


"becomes part of a liberal arts education which adds ethical weight to the 
professional world." 

The day after his lecture, he appeared at Morning Ex along with a panel of students 
from Lake Forest Academy, Latin School of Chicago, Glenbrook and New Trier 

High Schools. The purpose was to "try to think issues through together " A 

heated discussion followed, concluded by Mr. Thomas' remark that through 
mandatory service "students will create a shared common experience of service: 
learn, grow and experience by helping others." 

Alex Silets '87 wrote a reflection on the visit in the February 2, 1987 issue of the 
student paper. The major concern of the students on the panel seemed to be 
financial — how the government was going to pay for the program — rather than 
the value of the service experience itself as a way of learning and growing. 
Questions were posed such as: 

... Is it really in the government's best interests to add hundreds of millions 
of dollars to the already astronomical budget deficit? 

Which corporations would be willing to donate enormous amounts of 
money, especially without substantial tax incentives? 

Silets and her fellow panelists felt the need for "more concrete guidelines," for 
"taking a well-defined position which the youth of our nation can understand." 

She suggested that if: 

. . . Thomas and the Ford Foundation seek commitment from the youth of 
America, they must be prepared to offer a viable proposal to induce young 
people's sense of awareness and commitment to their country. 


It was becoming evident to educators, inspired by the Carnegie Study among 
others, that "awareness and commitment" have to be trained into youth. Richard 
Hall and a number of Board members had a strong commitment to incorporating 
service into the experience of every North Shore student, at least in the upper and 
middle schools. This was accomplished in a number of ways: through Work Day 
leaf raking for the elderly; through dedicating two of the four Interim Weeks 
during a high schooler's four years to social awareness and/or service; through 
collecting food and clothing for the poor. 

Individual teachers also picked up the banner. The second and seventh grades, 
under Jennifer Pliska and Sue Gundlach, started a Thanksgiving tradition of 
collecting used children's books to be delivered to the Chicago Headstart Program 
during Children's Book Week in mid-November. The ninth grade girls' 
homeroom, under Adrienne Weisse, worked for Hadley School for the Blind one 
afternoon a week. The developmental psychology class under Nancy Geyer 


engaged in participant observation in the lower school, at the Cove School for 
learning disabled youngsters in Winnetka and at the Presbyterian Home for the 
Elderly in Evanston as part of their major research project. The middle school held 
an annual holiday sale of traditional crafts for Plowshares, an organization 
supporting the preservation of traditional skills of low income craftspeople. 

In the early eighties, around the time the Carnegie Foundation recommended 
thirty hours of service a year as part of a high school experience, a faculty and 
student committee was formed by Hall and chaired by Adrienne Weisse, to explore 
the possibilities of a more comprehensive service program. Two major obstacles 
emerged from the intense discussions during that year: 1) the students already felt 
stretched to the limit with academics, sports, dramatics, yearbook, and in some 
cases jobs, and 2) the idea of "volunteer" service being required was an anathema 
to the students. It was a mistake on the part of the administration to introduce the 
concept as "volunteer service" rather than simply as social service (a part of 
everyone's education, just as math or science is). The compromise reached by the 
committee was to recommend at least one service experience a year for all upper 
school students, either with a group project or on an individual level. Summer was 
as acceptable a time to do it as the academic year. Such service was recommended 
and encouraged but not monitored. 

Service Day 

In order to provide ideas and resources for service projects, Diane Janson, school 
parent and recent chairperson for three years of the Parent Association, was invited 
by Hall to become Service Coordinator because of her strong organizational skills 
and personal commitment to the idea. A Service Day was planned for mid- 
December 1985. The original concept was that each upper school class would be 
introduced to a service agency and then continue volunteer assistance on a regular 
basis throughout the year. The freshmen went to the Chicago Child Care Society in 
Hyde Park and spoke with a school parent who headed the Juvenile Protective 
Association in Chicago. The sophomores worked with The North Shore Senior 
Center in Winnetka to help with a holiday party for senior citizens. The juniors 
went to Misericordia and the seniors to the Jane Addams Center. The most 
powerful experience was that at Misericordia where the students were put into 
helping positions immediately, working with severely handicapped children. The 
least satisfying experience was that portion of the day at The Jane Addams Center 
where a social worker lectured to the seniors for an hour on the range of services 

The lesson that emerged from the day was that if students are going to serve, they 
wanted to jump into a project with both feet, not sit and listen to theory. The 
sophomore relationship with the Senior Center in Winnetka turned out to be the 
most feasible, and, for most of the students, a very satisfying program; proximity 
was a distinct advantage. Traveling into Chicago, which took forty minutes to an 
hour each way, to engage in a regular activity simply was not practical, at least not 
during the week. Weekends were not considered seriously because of sports, jobs 
and family commitments. 


Moreover, many parents were resistant to their children taking time from the 
academic calendar to engage in what they felt were extraneous activities. Some 
faculty members were protective of class time and felt that such activity was a 
further fragmentation of their teaching efforts. Diane Janson recalls: 

. . . that these organizations I had been talking with — and I had spoken to 
dozens of them — really wanted a consistent commitment on our part. And 
I wanted permission to pull a student away from a basketball practice on a 
certain day — Thursday, for instance — for an hour's work somewhere 
each week for six to eight weeks. 

I remember the time when parents were questioning whether to leave 
"service" in the Long Range Plan. There were some jokes about changing 
the school's motto, because "Live and Serve" asked a lot of kids who were 
already very busy with studies and extra-curricular activities. 

The project had come to an impossible impasse. For the time being, the solution 
was to put more effort into raising social awareness — through Morning Exercise 
programs and in academic courses where appropriate — while at the same time 
continuing to require at least two of the four Interim experiences in high school to 
be those of social awareness and/or service, which was carefully monitored. The 
School as a whole continued to carry on the kinds of food and clothing drives that 
had always been a tradition, but the faculty and staff, for the most part, realized 
and regretted that the school motto — "Live and Serve" — emphasized more the 
living Sian the serving. Sharon Dole, in looking back over the decade, sighed and 
commented, "Dick wishes he had had a bigger impact on the service program." 

Social Awareness 

If the school community was not quite living up to the the "Serve" part of the 
motto, at least it took very seriously the challenge of awareness. The headmaster 
and his faculty went to great lengths to make sure of awakening students to the 
world beyond the campus. The increased diversity of the student body during the 
eighties ensured this process as did the active international student program. 
Morning Ex guests represented other countries and viewpoints, and the Harold 
Hines Fellowship brought in lecturers who were performing significant tasks in 

Mira Nair 

One such person was the 1989 Hines' Visiting Fellow, Mira Nair, the filmmaker 
from India, who wrote, directed and produced the award-winning film. Salaam 
Bombay! The middle and upper schools had the opportunity to view the film in 
early February, the day before Ms. Nair arrrived. One student commented in the 
student newspaper on the profound effect of the experience: 


Living on the North Shore, I cannot begin to comprehend the life of the 
street children of Bombay. This movie is so powerful, however, that I am 
able to feel the pain and suffering of these children. . . . This movie has 
forced me to reassess my role in life here in Winnetka. I have rediscovered 
that there is a world out there of over a billion human beings who don't 
have all that we do. . . . 

The students discovered that the story of making the film was every bit as 
fascinating as the story in the film itself. The young filmmaker told the packed 
audience in the Diller St. Theater: 

The challenges often seemed overwhelming While there were times 

during the filming of Salaam Bombay! that I wanted to die, or at least be 
knocked off for a couple of months, I kept going because I had a vision. 

Mark Salzman 

The Harold Hines Fellow of 1990 also had a vision — one that led him in pursuit of 
Chinese language, culture and martial arts. Mark Salzman, author of Iron and 
Silk, the collection of stories about his experiences in China, stunned the North 
Shore students with his revelation that he quit high school when he was sixteen 
and that accidents opened up amazing adventures to him. Neither of these factors 
seemed to reduce his chances of success, the Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale told 
his young audience. 

Find the part of yourself that really enjoys things. Once you decide what 

you want to do, you will work hard at it I would have loved to have 

gone to school in a place like this Enjoy what you have right now rather 

than torturing yourself to sustain a standard of living you think will make 
you happy Day dream, take naps and leave some things to chance. 


Dick Hall may not have believed in leaving some things to chance, but he certainly 
was willing to take a chance. In fact, he took an extraordinary risk the fall that 
"Project!" came to campus. The difficulties of getting students "out into the world" 
became obvious the year before in the monumental logistics problems on Service 
Day. In fall of 1986, it was decided to bring the outside world to North Shore. 
Diane Janson, (who had stepped in as interim director of development during 
Nancy Emrich's maternity leave), with an eye to continuing to raise social 
awareness on the campus, remembered the summer she found "Project!": 

Dick was in France. I realized that "Project!" would be a really wonderful 
experience. Dick came back, and this was the level of risk-taking that he 
was capable of — we had to commit $10,000 to bring "Project!" here. [The 
production was very expensive to mount as it required seventy television 
sets on stage simulating windows in a high rise project.] And Dick could 


not go to the Board for that kind of funding. He looked me square in the 
eye and said, "I'm willing to commit to it if you are." Of course I was. So 
we sat here every night. I didn't know how to use the computer to generate 
letters at that point. I was on a typewriter typing out individual letters to 
all of the principals in the area. Dick was following up the letters with 
phone calls. We did that whole campaign to publicize "Project!" in late 
August and early September and built an audience large enough to cover 
our costs. 

Nancy Travis [publications 1985-88] described the experience in the November 

1986 Country Days : 

Cabrini-Green [housing project] came to North Shore on September 22-23. 

It was probably the first time that so different a group of people visited the 
campus with such a compelling and urgent message. 

The story of their lives, hopes, dreams and heartaches at Cabrini-Green was 
presented through the dance and song of a musical docudrama. It was 
entertainment, as the School community and area residents watched a 
professional cast at work; it was a chilling message, as lyrics clearly 
described not only anguish but also an absolute will to survive. 

There was much that was noteworthy about "Project!", from the inspiration 
of Patrick Henry and his creation of die musical, to its rave reviews, 
Chicago-area T.V. and press coverage and possible national attention. So 
significant is the production that the Illinois Arts Council awarded the 
School a grant to [help] support the performances on campus. 

The visit was memorable for other subtle and more significant reasons. The 
talented cast members we saw on stage are all residents of Cabrini-Green, 
previously untrained in the theater. The lyrics of all the songs were taken 
from interviews with the project's residents, many of whom were in the 
performance. Our school community shared the experience with other 
school groups and residents who watched the performances here because 
they understood the importance of hearing the message first-hand and 
recognized the significance of educating themselves to this inner-city 
community whose attention in the news to this point has emphasized the 
harshness, the violence, the deprivation and has neglected the . . . story of 
the people there who have had to endure. 

The impact of a production like "Project!" is most clearly felt when the 
actors on stage break through the differences that so separate their 
experiences from the people in the audience. By finding one common 
thread between those standing on the stage and those sitting in the 
audience, the players cease to be mere characters and become real people; 
their story no longer a performance but a conversation. 

For some in the audience, the recognition came at seeing individuals 
peering out from caged windows, clinging there to their confinement in 


frustration or despondence. For other observers, reality hit when one lone 
man sang of the barriers he meets in every turn and finally, in frustration, 
asks, "Where do you want me to live?" 

The real story in "Project!" however, came after the auditorium cleared and 
students walked out of the darkness and into the day. For many, the 
production was "cool," "great," "awesome," and "so scary," but still out of 
touch. Then, in a spontaneous moment, they met the people in a one-to-one 

It began in the cafeteria after Tuesday's performance. Diane Janson . . . 
invited the cast to lunch provided that they "mingle with the students." 

The visitors were met by individuals and groups of students and faculty 
who paused to thank them for coming and to offer their praise. 

Eager to mingle, the cast answered questions ranging from how it feels to 
be a "star" to inquiries about gangs and living amidst daily incidents of 
violence. One to one, they laughed and talked, and each group, equally 
alien to the other, listened, understood and became friends. 

With another performance to follow in the evening, the cast remained on 
campus. Conversations begun at lunch continued. Outside and in the gym, 
cast members and students began football and basketball games. In these 
ways, the common link was found that caused the past performance to 
become a deeper, personal experience — for both groups. 

Unplanned and unorchestrated, what happened at the steps of the Arts 
Center typifies the kind of spontaneous interactions that made the whole 
experience worthwhile. 

However it began, Jordan Rosen '87 and two "Project!" musicians were 
involved in a jam session — North Shore guitar, Cabrini-Green drums and 
sax. It was communication in a very personal sense, through music. 

Students, faculty and cast members gathered in the sunshine to listen, to 
dance and also, without speaking, to participate in a shared experience. 

Students were still talking about the "Project!" experience at the end of the decade. 
And "Project!" went on tour to Europe and to international acclaim. 

The autumn "Project!" came to campus was the same autumn the East Gym was 
dedicated to Mac McCarty and just a year after Mac won his 200th game as a 
football coach. There was great celebration for both events. 

Global Experience 

The School's longstanding commitment to pushing student awareness beyond the 
campus boundaries was supported to its fullest extent by Dick Hall and his 


encouragement of the International Students' program at North Shore. Such 
organizations as The English-Speaking Union, Rotary International, A.S.S.I.S.T. 
(American Secondary Schools for International Students and Teachers), and 
Experiment in International Living (which Perry Dunlap Smith had so encouraged 
at its inception) were all part of the global experience of the students at 
Country Day. 

If Dick Hall had had his way, each one of the students at the School would have 
had an intensive, personal experience with a foreign culture. Not achieving quite 
that goal, he realized there were lesser, but still valuable, possibilities: students 
who were not able to go to another country during Interim Week or on a summer 
program could have the opportunity to welcome an international student into their 
circle of friends or even their home. To become a host family was a privilege and 
an important responsibility for a school family. "A spare bedroom and a large 
refrigerator," as one host parent suggested, were all drat were needed, plus a desire 
to share their version of American life. Students came yearly from England, 
Germany and Spain; less frequently from France, Belgium and Korea; and 
occasionally from countries such as Brazil, Columbia, Thailand and Western 
Samoa. NSCDS was one of the first secondary schools in the country to welcome a 
young student from Mainland China. Shi Xiao Feng came from Shanghai in 1986. 

China Study 

Perhaps it was Xiao's visit that year, or perhaps it was simply the growing 
consciousness of China through the news, but, in the the spring of 1986, the lower 
school faculty developed a "multi-age, multi-aspect curriculum" focused on China, 
which was carried out for two weeks in February of 1987. During that time the 
students completed their formal school day at two o'clock and then went to their 
selected mini-course group. The NSCDS Bulletin (Spring 1987) described some of 
the courses: 

. . . building a model of an ancient city, boats (that also included the 
construction of a model of the Hong Kong harbor), calligraphy and paper 
making, Chinese kites, cooking, panda bears and tigers and the Forbidden 

Some of the parents even became involved as resource people. Tom Rosenbluth, 
third grade teacher and director of lower school curriculum [1983-87], commented 
on the value for teachers and students: 

It gets the teachers talking about how to teach a subject. .. The kids will 
think about different ways of learning — through dancing, singing, 
building a model, studying geography, language or going to a restaurant — 
because they have seen it with China. 

Children of War 

Multiple ways of learning were always a challenge to the faculty. Belief in the 
teaching-value of life experience manifested itself in the late sixties by encouraging 


students to attend Civil Rights and anti-war demonstrations, in the mid-eighties by 
encouraging students to attend the Children of War Tour. Joyce Lopas took a 
group of upper school students to Northwestern University in November of 1986. 
There, twenty-six young people from war-tom nations, touring the United States in 
recognition of 1986 as the United Nations' Year of Peace, came to tell their stories to 
young Americans. As described in the Spring 1987 Bulletin: 

Jon Oakley '87 went to this conference because he felt out of touch with 
world problems. He still feels that the facts are hard to find and 
interpretation even harder. When the touring students expressed views 
contrary to those commonly held in the U.S. or suggested that our 
government might be following a course detrimental to other people, 
natural reactions were anger at being criticized and the thought that the 
students might be lying about conditions in their countries. However, 

Andrea Nash '87 comments, "They didn't come to tell us how bad we are 
but to tell us that we live in a free society where we can make a difference if 
we ask for information and act on it. They can't. If they try they are 
imprisoned or killed." 

The Bulletin also described the seventh grade experience: 

Although the conference was presented for and by teenagers, Robert 
Kramer and Sue Gundlach decided to take the entire seventh grade. Mrs. 
Gundlach worried that it would be hard for the younger students to sit for 
so long a time and listen to material that might be over their heads, but she 
felt it was a valuable experience for them to hear what others had lived 
through and to see several hundred older American students taking it 

Some seventh graders did find it boring, too deep or hard to understand 
because of the speakers' accents. Other students were profoundly moved. 

"It made me angry." "I was really sad for those people because they can't 
go home." "Some people thought the conference had nothing to do with 
learning, but if we don't learn about this pretty soon we won't have a 
second chance." "How can what happened four hundred years ago be 
important when we're about to blow up?" were some comments. 

Once again, the value of risk-taking in teaching was reinforced as was the value of 
global contact among the young. 

Interim Trips 

Foreign travel beckoned at Interim time. The trip to London with Mrs. Jackson in 
the early eighties proved so rewarding that it was picked up again by another 
British teacher, Lynda Wood [kindergarten 1983-present]. There were a number of 
variations developed by Mrs. Wood and other teachers on the British theme: 
theatre with English teacher Jack Pasanen; London and Paris with French teacher 
Adrienne Weisse; English history with social studies teacher Bill Freisem. Hie 
students during the eighties developed a keen interest in all things British, given 


the Interim trips (either going or hearing about them from a friend who went), the 
yearly British student from The English-Speaking Union, the presence in the school 
community of several students who had been bom in England and the ultimate 
experience — going to England oneself after graduation for a year with The 
English-Speaking Union. Almost every year during the eighties, a North Shore 
student took advantage of the E.S.U. opportunity. 

The other country that evoked intense interest during die decade was the Soviet 
Union, an interest reinforced by the trips led by art teacher Jacqueline Melissas 
[1980-present]. Shortly after her tenure began at North Shore, Mrs. Melissas had 
the opportunity to travel to the Soviet Union with art educators, and she 
subsequently prepared a traveling exhibit of students' art from NSCDS to tour 

In 1984 she led her first Interim trip there and prepared to lead another two years 
later, around the time of the televising of the disturbing film. The Day After , which 
accentuated the fear of the Russians. The rationale and preparation were described 
by Mrs. Melissas in the Fall 1986 Bulletin: 

The trip two years ago was a real peer to peer exchange Going to Russia 

changes your thinking and gives new perspectives on world problems. We 
didn't anticipate the reaction to meeting Russian people. There is a real 
difference between the government and what the people are like. In that 
respect, it was a journey of hope. 

David Plimpton '88 remembered that first trip; he was an eighth grader (when the 
eighth grade participated in Interim Week). Although his parents were excited for 
him, he was feeling very anxious. He remembered the Russian students explaining 
the Soviet boycott of the Olympic Games. He also recalled being stopped on the 
way out of the country because the officials were not sure the photo on the 
passport was his. They made him write his signature several times and finally let 
him go. His parents mentioned to him later that it was three weeks before he 
talked about the trip at home. He was in culture shock, they realized. The trip had 
had a profound impact. 

Adequate preparation was essential for both trips. During the fall, students met at 
school and in homes for films and discussions. They read Russian literature and 
resource books. Yet, they discovered how much more the Russians know about 
America and Americans than vice versa. Mrs. Melissas commented, "We have this 
picture of them at barbed wire, scratching to get out, but iP s not that way at all." 

Again, from tine Bulletin: 

Through the auspices of the Citizen Exchange Council, a not-for-profit 
organization in New York established after the Cold War, Mrs. Melissas 
hopes the experience will play a significant role in the lives of these 
students after their departure from North Shore. "These kids are 
tomorrow's leaders. They have the potential to become people who can 


affect the world in many ways; people with power, the doers, the policy 
makers, the corporation leaders " 

Two years after his graduation from North Shore, David Plimpton '88 undertook a 
summer internship in Washington, D.C. in preparation for a possible career in 
international relations. The Interim experiences — England and Germany as well 
as the Soviet Union — had laid the groundwork. 

Holocaust Studies 

Global enrichment was expanded by the generous pledge in 1987 from school 
parents, Robert and Penny Tepper, for Holocaust Studies. By fall of 1989 a 
trimester course on the Holocaust was in place in the upper school social studies 
curriculum. Co-taught by Scoot Dimon, Julie Hall and Joyce Lopas, the course 
adopted the "Facing History" approach (a national program for teaching the 
Holocaust) and culminated with an Interim trip to Germany focusing on World 
War II and the Holocaust. By extraordinary coincidence the group was in 
Germany when the Berlin wall came down. They did indeed face history in 
November of 1989, a time these students would never forget. 

Renaissance Festivities 

Global learning, however, was not limited to the contemporary world. In 1987, 
middle school social studies and English teacher Doris Galbraith and her sixth 
grade students took on the monumental task of presenting a Renaissance Feast. 
The Bulletin described how it was set up: 

After their return from the winter holiday, the students began research into 
the renaissance period. One such project required the sixth graders to write 
a daily journal as a renaissance person. Although the creation of a fictitious 
person was the basic vehicle, it was necessary for the students to 
understand enough of the mood, activities and point of view of the period 
to write an authentic account of daily life. 

Simultaneously, one or two art periods a week were devoted to work on the 
feast that was to complete the students' study of the renaissance period. 
Dividing into permanent groups, students prepared music, wrote the script 
for the evening, prepared the banners for the "Great Hall" and worked on 
short presentations for dinner entertainment. 

The result was a magnificent feast Entertainment before and during the 

dinner included a violin trio, jugglers and acrobats, recorder music, jesters, 
magicians, comic routines and dramatic and choral presentations. The sixth 
grade fed and entertained about 110 people. 

Thus was an annual tradition created. Winter was no longer complete in the 
middle school without its Renaissance Feast. 


Ye Olde Madrigal Christmas Feaste 

Ye Olde Madrigal Christmas Feaste, another Renaissance tradition, was started at 
holiday time of 1988 by Jay Fry, the new performing arts department chairman. 
Elizabeth Conrad '84, who helped prepare the costumes, described the event for 
the February 1989 Country Days: 

Guests clever enough to order tickets to the sold-out evening were 
announced by title and name upon entering the hall and were led 
respectfully to their places by candlelight, surrounded by freshly cut 

evergreen boughs and colorful banners With a flourish of music, our 

hosts entered singing. . . The traditional wassail toast rang through the hall; 
the boar's head was paraded through the assembly, and the evening had 
truly begun. 

Not since the days of Vin Allison's Camarata Vocale has the North Shore 

family had a chance to enjoy such expertly performed madrigals Many 

guests came either in clothing that fit the festive mood of the evening or in 

actual Renaissance costume Ye Olde Madrigal Feaste has certainly 

earned its place among our well-loved school traditions. 

Facing AIDS 

In spite of the the fun of Renaissance feasts, the exhilaration of global outreach, the 
enriched curriculum, and the renewed vigor in Vaudeville, the school community 
was suddenly brought face-to-face with the reality of the world-wide epidemic of 

During the school year 1986-87 a controversy erupted in the local Wilmette public 
school system over the presence of a student with Acquired Immune Deficiency 
Syndrome (AIDS). Silence was broken in the Country Day community when the 
Board of Trustees decided to issue a policy dealing with the problem. Parents 
received a bulletin stating the School's stand which they were assured was 
"consistent with the recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control and 
the guidelines issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois 
Board of Education." In addition, Dick Hall, supported by the Board, decided that 
the students needed some deliberate education on the matter, the best that could be 
obtained. By another remarkable coincidence, the physician considered at the 
forefront of AIDS education in the nation happened to be a school parent, Roy 
Schwarz, M.D. He happily agreed to give a Morning Ex on the topic to the upper 
school. It was a sobering experience. Dr. Schwarz spoke in the kind of language 
accessible to every student present without boring the youngsters with 
meaningless statistics. To the hushed group of students, he laid out the facts and 
told them how to protect themselves, particularly emphasizing abstinence. A year 
later, in the autumn of 1988, he returned to provide an update. 


The Mural Project 

Nevertheless, the irrepressible zest for life could not long be subdued, even by so 
serious a threat as AIDS. A remarkably creative program was announced in the 
autumn of 1987, a Master-in-Residence Program, named in honor of Richard P. 
Hall, which set the school community's creative juices flowing. The ingenious 
donor was Mary Pick Hines '49, a former school parent and alumna and, at that 
time, president of the Alumni Association. The idea of the program was to bring to 
the campus an individual who had stature and expertise in a special field 
applicable to elementary and/or secondary education. Each year's master would 
have a tenure of no less than three months. A great part of the creativity of the 
Program was involved in the choice of the master every year by a faculty 
committee. A Morning Ex guest, discovered by the the Art Committee, who 
visited the School the following spring proved to be an ideal choice to launch 
the program. 

Cynthia Weiss, the first Richard P. Hall Master-in-Residence, was an artist who had 
designed and executed murals in and around Chicago. For the Master-in- 
Residence project, however, she did neither the designing nor the painting. In 
collaboration with art teacher, Jacqueline Melissas, she employed tine ideas and 
energy of every lower school child, of every middle school art student and of every 
interested upper school student — and even faculty and the headmaster. 

The spring 1989 Bulletin, described what happened next: 

Through classroom discussion, they began their search for the painting that 
would "belong" in the cafeteria. All the ideas, the designs and the hard 
work came from the students. The theme they chose was "From Country to 
City. . . From Earth to Sky" which also incorporated the creation myths 
which the seventh grade was studying. 

Every lower school child created a drawing of farm, jungle or underwater 
animals, birds or horses. Then each child painted his or her creation on the 
walls under the windows. Meanwhile, the middle school students, who 
were the core group, selected from everybody's separate drawings of sky, 
people, trees or buildings those that would compose the mural. They 
painted these selections on the pillars and beams of the cafeteria. 

During Interim Week that fall came the final big push to complete the mural. 
Students from the upper school who signed up for the Mural Project became part 
of the core group of painters along with the middle school artists. Taking breaks 
from the long days of painting, the Interim group made field trips into Chicago; 
one was to a commercial muralist's loft, another to the Mexican Fine Arts Museum 
in the Pilsen neighborhood, an area noted for its fine public murals. 


By mid-November that year the blank white walls and pillars of the once sterile- 
looking lunchroom came alive with child-spirited images and colors. As the 
Bulletin put it: 

The Master's influence was now complete. Cynthia Weiss had taught 
students and faculty alike how to create, compose and paint a mural. 

Mrs. Melissas commented, "Getting the mural up onto the wall was a kind of 
heroic effort involving so many people of so many different ages and of such 
different abilities." On one of the walls in the lunchroom was painted the name of 
every one of those people who had participated, children and adults. 

The Piper Brothers 

Two of the potential participants in the mural project were never to have the joy of 
bringing it to completion. On the Thursday evening before Interim was to start, 
there was a middle school football game at a local school. Nicholas Piper '93, 
quarterback for the middle school team, had led them to victory. His proud 
brother Alex '89, also a football player and a senior that year, was driving the two 
of them home to Highland Park when they were in a disastrous automobile 
accident. Neither boy survived. The School community was devastated by the 
sudden loss. Classmates were paralyzed by grief. 

The funeral was scheduled for the following Monday morning, the first day of 
Interim Week. Mac McCarty, Alex's football coach, and friend of both boys, was to 
give the eulogy. Mac and his wife, Evelyn, and one of the upper school teachers 
were on their way to the funeral when Mac, at the wheel, blacked out, and the car 
hit a tree. All were injured; Evelyn McCarty did not survive. Evelyn's funeral 
drew alumni, students, parents and former parents from all over the country. The 
essence of family in the school community was truly expressed in the outpouring 
of grief and love. 

The students planned a memorial service for their classmates. It was held near the 
McCarty Gym in the early spring; a sugar gum tree was planted in the Piper 
brothers' honor. The lunchroom mural that Alex and Nicholas were to have 
helped paint was dedicated in their memory. A scholarship was also established 
and named in their honor. 

Music at North Shore 

Susan Marshall Concert 

Another tragic automobile accident led to the establishment of the Susan Marshall 
Memorial Concert. Susan, from the class of 1976, perished in 1982. Her parents, 
strong supporters of music in the Chicago area, channelled their grief into a way of 


recognizing and celebrating talented young musicians by selecting and inviting 
one to perform each year at a concert at The North Shore Country Day School in 
memory of Susan. Inaugurated in 1983, the selection of musicians for the duration 
of the eighties included soprano, Ruth Golden; violinist, Mark Peskanov; pianist, 
Marcantonio Barone; cellist, Gary Hoffman; pianist, Stephen Hough; violinist, Peter 
Winograd; and cellist. Carter Brey. Each of these musicians played for the whole 
School at Morning Ex as well as performing for the public at an evening concert in 
the Diller St. Theater and giving a Master Class at the Music Center of the North 
Shore. The children of the School were introduced to serious music at an early age 
and yearly reinforced in it. 

Diller St. Theater 

Almost immediately upon his arrival at the School, Richard Hall realized the 
potential for the campus to become a center for the performing arts. He appointed 
Roger Shipley — an apt choice because of his versatility — to become managing 
director of the Diller St. Theater in 1980. Shipley, a graduate of Oberlin who had 
joined the faculty in 1969, taught middle school shop [1969-88] and English [1973- 
80] and was outdoor education coordinator [1974-80] and the technical director of 
theatre [1969-88]. The advantage to the School of a performance center on campus 
was the possibility of the guest artists enriching the Morning Ex program. 

Classical musicians performed regularly, and, by the end of the decade. The 
Chicago Children's Theater had set up a November and April residency in the 
Diller St. Theater. 

Music Major 

In addition to a rich exposure to the performing arts, the presence on campus of 
The Music Center of the North Shore opened up opportunity for students to take 
lessons on a variety of musical instruments as well as to major in music at the 
upper school level. Two outstanding examples of music majors from the class of 
1990 were violinist David Borishansky, who came from Ohio to North Shore in 
order to continue his study at the Music Center, and cellist Wendy Warner, who 
had become a protegee of Rostropovich while still in high school. 

School Community Musicians 

Richard Hall's wife, Carol, was a concert violinist and added immeasurably to the 
musical enrichment of the School: playing first violin for the opera, for Morning Ex 
every year, teaching lessons at the Music Center and conducting the Youth 
Orchestra of the North Shore, of which a number of NSCDS students were 
members. Moreover, for many years the School had the benefit of a resident 
pianist: first, Sheldon Rosenbaum [1965-83], who played for all of the musical 
productions during the academic year and taught piano and at times music theory, 
then Washington McClain [1983-86], who taught middle school music and was the 
school accompanist. The decade of the eighties ended with the energetic Danny 
Wallenberg [1986-92], who took on the middle and upper schools' music programs 
as well as conducting the Diller St. Chorale, a group of adults from the northern 


The Opera 

The Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, which so dominated the musical memories of 
sixty-five years of alumni, were beginning to be questioned by the end of the 
eighties. Both Geoffrey Holland, director of upper and middle school music from 
1986-87 and Jay Fry, who came in as chairman of the performing arts department 
in 1987, had doubts whether Gilbert and Sullivan operettas were necessarily the 
best vehicle for training young voices. The 1988 ISACS Evaluation supported the 
question. Richard Hall recognized that this was a real "hot potato" and 
approached the issue with trepidation. He held open discussions with faculty and 
students. He sent out a request to alumni for their thought on three possibilities: to 
continue the opera annually as had been done for most of the School's history, to 
drop Gilbert and Sullivan in favor of some other type of musical performance or to 
intersperse Gilbert and Sullivan every other year (or two years or even three years) 
with other types of productions. The expectation was that alumni would be 
overwhelmingly in favor of keeping G & S an annual event. But that was not the 
case. When the mail came in. Hall made three stacks of replies according to the 
opinion expressed. Surprising to everyone concerned, the three stacks were almost 
equal. As loyal as many of the alumni were to the G & S tradition, another group 
surprisingly said, "Get rid of it." Rather unexpected, too, was the advice of several 
alumni who had become music educators: they returned very thoughtful responses 
stating that as valuable and enjoyable as G & S is, there are also many other 
valuable musical experiences for young people. They saw merit in extending the 
horizon of the students by balancing G & S with other good material. 

The decision by Hall was not to make a decision — not at this point. An alternative 
production would be done in spring of 1990; Gilbert and Sullivan would return in 
1991, and at that point a decision would be made. 

The ISACS Evaluation of 1988 

Never had the School seemed stronger than at the point another ISACS Evaluation 
was due. Following the Evaluation of 1980, the headmaster and Board had worked 
hand-in-hand building a strong, stimulating school environment. All of the 
weaknesses which had surfaced in 1980 had been dealt with in the Long Range 
Plan and had been tackled in one way or another on die practical level in the 
following seven years. 

Long Range Achievements 

A highly-respected development program was in place. The Director, Nancy Jones 
Emrich, was regarded as the doyenne of independent school development in the 
Chicago area by the end of the decade. A capital fund drive, under the 
chairmanship of Board member Richard Franke, had achieved extraordinary 
success. A beautiful new library had been built and had become a cultural 
resource for the entire North Shore community. A second, separate campaign had 
successfully matched the anonymous donor's $1 million offering, achieving both 


the completion of the library financing and the striking increase in faculty salaries 
from an average of $16,150 in 1981 to $32,906 in 1990. This increase brought faculty 
salaries into the ninetieth percentile of independent schools in the Midwest. The 
Diller St. Theater was considered a performing arts center for the Chicago area and 
was recognized for its high quality performances. The faculty had matured and 
stabilized. Their professional development had been encouraged and supported. 
Global awareness was a fact of life at the School. An outstanding college 
counseling program was in place with Sharon Cooper, a full-time professional; 
that time-consuming task no longer depended on an over-burdened head of the 
upper school. 


Richard Hall had proved his leadership not only at the School but in the broader 
independent school and community circles. Shortly after his arrival in Winnetka, 
he initiated a support group for Chicago area headmasters which met once a 
month to share ideas and problems and, in general, to bolster morale. In addition, 
school evaluation had come into his realm of expertise. In 1982 he was appointed 
to the Evaluation Review Committee of Independent Schools of the Central States 
(ISACS). He was by now a veteran of many evaluation teams for other schools, 
often as chairman. He helped start an Independent Schools of Greater Chicago 
(ISAGC) committee of faculty representatives to provide peer networking and 
mutual development. He was chairman of the ISACS conference held in Chicago 
in November 1987. He was on the boards of the Foundation for Excellence in 
Teaching and the University School of Milwaukee. In 1988 he was elected 
president of the Rotary Club in Winnetka and was named Educator of the Year by 
the Winnetka Chamber of Commerce. 

Hall's style of leadership could provide a study in itself. A number of faculty and 
staff have tried to analyze it. One staff member commented: 

Dick has been a man all along with a very clear vision for this place. Step 
by step, always enthusiastically, always optimistically, and always in small 
bites. He would offer you a challenge, recognize you for a job well done 
and then offer you another challenge. But each one of them would keep 
you connected to the place and would give you a sense of doing something 
that was of value and something that was meaningful. Each one of them 
made you want to be a part of the next step because you began to see what 

he saw The tasks Dick asked one to do were never easy. He never said 

they would be easy. He always said they would be hard It was a real 

privilege to be a part of the dynamic that was going on here. 

A faculty member saw his creativity: 

You came up with a problem; he saw an opportunity. He had three possible 
solutions right away, and if you waited till the next morning, he had ten. 

Just an unending array of different ways to do things and to do them better. 

He would look at the School as a whole. He would look at the teachers in 


the School. He would look at the problems that we had. Then he'd try to 
come up with some way to build on the strengths to overcome the 
weaknesses, whether it was assigning a person to a different kind of job or 
changing the job description. Instead of saying we need somebody to do 
this and somebody to do that, and trying to fit all the pegs in the holes, he'd 
change the size of the holes to fit the pegs or he'd shave off a little peg or 
he'd add a little spur to a peg. He was continually challenging his people, 
finding ways they could be more creative, to grow professionally. His 
energy was so phenomenal that it would wear me out just to watch him. 

Another faculty member felt that Hall "East Coastized" the School: 

The East has a different set of values; there is a longer sense of history and 
tradition. There are chairs in such and such. There is the 
institutionalization of living the intellectual life. Dick was very perceptive 
in understanding where the strengths of the School were and 
institutionalizing them. 

Preparation for the Evaluation 

Ever the planner. Hall had made sure to lay the groundwork for the 1988 NSCDS 
evaluation by revising with the Board and faculty the statement of the School's 
philosophy and objectives; the new statement had been adopted by the Board in 
March 1986. Subsequent to that, a year of meetings and discussions were held to 
institute a new Long Range Plan which was approved by the Board in May 1987 — 
just in time to begin planning the self-study which was a key part of the ISACS 

Philosophy and Objectives 

The new statement of philosophy and objectives, while including most of the ideas 
of the 1980 statement, was more concise. It articulated the goals under three 
categories — academic, personal development and social — instead of the two 
used in 1980 — academic and social. It dropped the phrase which had raised 
doubt in the evaluation of 1980 — "support . . . controversy, healthy skepticism 
..." and replaced it with "the students are motivated to develop ... to be effective 

in problem solving " Another area of change was dropping several social goals 

of the 1980 statement: 

• Cooperation with one another, 

• Understanding one's own feelings and those of others, 

• Accountability for one's actions, 

• Development of a sense of responsibility within the community 
(home, school, local and world), 

• Participation in total group effort. 


These goals were replaced with the 1986 version — in the framework of a personal 
development goal: 

The School requires participation in activities designed both to develop 
physical coordination, endurance and leadership skills and to promote 
sportsmanship and teamwork. 

And as social goals: 

The School provides programs which develop a world view. 

The School incorporates a faculty and a student body of diverse 
backgrounds who develop friendships and share experiences across a broad 
range of ages. 

The 1986 version also pointed to a personal development goal "to develop a strong 
sense of personal ethics ..." which had been implied in the 1980 version but 
without using the word "ethics." "Cooperation" and "group effort" seemed to be 
implied in the 1986 version only in the context of athletics in the terms 
"sportsmanship and teamwork." 

By the late eighties, one of the underlying tensions between the faculty and the 
Board was over the issue of cooperation versus competition. Perry Smith always 
urged cooperation with one's peers and competition with oneself. The Board of the 
late eighties was pushing for a broader competitive spirit to pervade the School 
and was suggesting that external rewards (i.e., honor roll, academic honors) would 
reinforce academic motivation. What was happening, in effect, was that the Board 
was pushing an outmoded incentive at the very time that educational reformers 
were acknowledging the value of learning as its own reward, a principle held by 
John Dewey and Francis Parker, progressive educators from the turn of the century 
who had helped form the vision of Perry Dunlap Smith. 

To stimulate children to learn for external rewards and to outdo their peers would 
be to counteract one of the goals of the 1986 philosophy: "to develop a strong sense 
of personal ethics." There is a significant difference between competing with 
oneself and competing with one's friend, particularly when educational research 
says that learning cooperatively is more effective than learning competitively. 

Here was another example of one of Smith's ideas — promoted in the twenties and 
thirties — still on the cutting edge of educational theory in the late eighties, yet at 
risk in his own School. 

Long Range Plan 

The Long Range Plan of 1987 presented five categories of actions for change: 
curriculum, marketing, people, social purpose and financial. As might be 
expected, programs for using the library were considered a key to strengthening 
the curriculum. From the perspective of educational history, several 
recommendations stir interest: "Integrate the teaching of related disciplines 
wherever it is practical to do so" indicated a trend away from departmentalization. 


"Explore new approaches to teaching foreign languages in the lower school" 
recognized the importance of starting another language while quite young. 
"Investigate alternative scheduling formats to encourage field study" pointed to 
the need to break out of the rigid time constraints of the typical forty to fifty- 
minute class periods. "Establish and implement a plan to acquire up-to-date 
educational and administrative technology . . ." and "Integrate the computer into 
appropriate areas of existing programs"; all of these recommendations were 
compatible with and would seem to reinforce the progressive philosophy. 

Enrollment Concerns 

Marketing was a key factor because of teenage demographics during the late 
eighties. Even the neighboring New Trier High School, which typically had classes 
of twelve to thirteen hundred students, saw its population dwindle to under a 
thousand per class. By the late eighties, the population bulge was at the lower 
school level. For that reason, aggressive recruitment at the middle and upper 
school levels had to be undertaken. 

A marketing study, conducted in 1988, identified the key factor in the minds of its 
parent sample: "academic excellence." Or, phrased in more practical terms — 

"Will an education at The North Shore Country Day School admit my child into a 
'competitive' college?" While the recommendations of the Long Range Plan were 
compatible with progressive education, terminology such as "supportive," "small," 
"flexible" and "understanding" lost power in the eyes of the Board which felt such 
terms should be stricken from marketing materials. Yet "supportive," "small," 
"flexible" and "understanding" were the qualities of the schools, which during the 
the famous Eight-Year-Study of the thirties, were found to have produced the 
successful, well-rounded college student. Furthermore, John Dewey's name was 
removed from the late-eighties viewbook; members from the Board who proofread 
the book asked, "Who is John Dewey?" A number of the faculty felt that the 
identity of the School was at risk. 

The director of public relations and marketing, Diane Janson, explained: 

Marketing says you have to meet people where they are and lead them in to 
where you want to take them. If people don't know what progressive 
education is, if they don't know who Perry Dunlap Smith was, you can't get 
their attention. Without their attention, you can't educate them. We never 
in our marketing anticipated that we were going to change the underlying 
values of the School, but in order to attract the attention of prospective 
parents, we had to wave the flag that they would see. And the one thing 
they wanted to see was college placement lists and SAT scores. 

Faculty Concerns 

Apart from increasing enrollment, there was also concern with implementing "a 
faculty compensation program that [would] attract and retain the most capable 
teachers." Along with that was a directive to "build new faculty housing units and 


improve the existing ones on campus." Dick Hall spent extraordinary amounts of 
time and energy on the faculty housing issue during his last three years in office, 
often in debate with the Winnetka village government over zoning, but the 
neighborhood antipathy to the idea was too entrenched to allow more construction 
on campus at that point. The Wavering gift for faculty housing was diverted to the 
future renovation of the upper school, while the Headmaster's House was 
dedicated and named Wavering House in 1989 in recognition of Vera and Elmer 
Wavering's generosity. 

Social Concerns 

The social purpose component of the Long Range Plan included the following: 

• Strengthen global-perspective programs. 

• Develop programs to assist parents in fostering a strong sense of 
personal ethics. 

• Encourage social concern and provide opportunities for service. 

The thought regarding ethics was that the prime force for dealing with such a 
sensitive topic should be the parents, with the School in a supporting role. Service 
opportunities would be provided, but the School was not ready to integrate 
mandatory service as a learning experience into the educational expectation for 
graduation as many other independent schools were doing at this time. Problems 
of geography and time were major obstacles; the logistics for transporting 
youngsters into the city on a frequent basis were complex. 


In preparation for the visit by the ISACS evaluation team, the faculty and staff of 
the School undertook an exhaustive self-study. Twenty-seven committees 
analyzed every division, every department, and every other instructional and 
administrative aspect of the School to see how well the institution was living out 
its philosophy. 

[A note of historic interest: The seventy-six page 1988 document was typed on an 
Apple IIGS, using Appleworks, and printed using a Macintosh, Microsoft Works 
and lazer printer. The 1980 document had been typed on an IBM Selectric 
typewriter and duplicated by Xerox. The 1973 document had been 

It was during the evaluation process that the tension which had been mounting 
during the latter part of the eighties came to the surface and boiled over. Faculty 
members, while they valued the stimulation and challenge to creativity, were 
feeling fragmented and stretched too thin by conflicting demands. They felt the 
School lacked a consistent view of itself, perhaps trying to be all things to all 
people, perhaps admitting students who required more specialized programs than 
North Shore was geared to offer. Decision-making was another sensitive issue. 
Some department heads felt their judgment regarding department policy and the 
hiring of new teachers was not taken seriously. 


The examination of the very nature of leadership itself reflected what was going on 
nationally, not merely at one school. The days of the benevolent dictator were 
definitely over. In fact, even the appellation "head-master" — certainly a 
paternalistic title — seemed grossly obsolete in view of the changing perspective of 
contemporary faculty members. The situation at NSCDS, however, might strike 
one as slightly ironic considering the degree of autonomy and involvement in the 
governance of their school which North Shore teachers had in comparison with 
their public school peers. Many faculty members felt this was not enough. They 
were seeking the kind of democratic ideal embedded in the Perry Dunlap Smith 
philosophy, whether or not such ever existed in reality. 

The Impact of the Evaluation 

During the second week of April in 1988, the nineteen-member evaluation team 
arrived. They visited classes, met with teachers, parents. Board members; they 
observed Morning Ex and other School activities and wrote up their report. 
Commendations were made on the atmosphere of the School, the long range 
planning, greater financial stability, innovative programs and the new library. 
Special note was made of "the aggressive effort of the School to be a cultural 
resource for the surrounding community." 

Recommendations included improving communication and decision-making 
processes, examining traditional practices (Morning Ex and Gilbert and Sullivan, 
for instance) to see if they still met the needs of changing times, exploring ways to 
better accommodate the expanded number of students of diverse backgrounds 
and, finally, developing a more focused public relations and marketing strategy to 
combat the declining enrollment at the middle and upper school levels. The 
dispassionate report gave no hint of the intense drama that had played itself out 
during the evaluation process. 

So fervently had the headmaster worked for seven years to rebuild the School. So 
courageously had he taken risks to challenge his faculty and students to their 
utmost. So carefully had he laid the groundwork for the 1988 evaluation; yet 
somewhere along the way, so subtle that one would find it difficult to point out 
where, something had happened. A month after the evaluation, Dick Hall 
announced to the School community that he would be leaving in June of 1989. As 
a result of the institutional and personal soul-searching, he had come to the 
conclusion that his leadership was no longer right for North Shore. He was to turn 
fifty during his tenth year with the School; he had completed one Long Range Plan 
and had helped set another in order; he had brought the School through two 
ISACS evaluations, and now he felt it was time to bring in new ideas and a new 
style of administration. 

Hall was experiencing what has become evident in recent years: that effective 
leadership seems to have a cycle. It was becoming apparent on a national scale that 
the typical tenure of college presidents and heads of independent schools was 
averaging around six to eight years. These positions no longer took the lifetime 


patterns of the Perry Dunlap Smiths. Hall's original intent had been to live out his 
professional life at North Shore. He had invested himself totally in the School; this 
was his home in the deepest sense possible. Given that level of commitment, it was 
a wrenching decision to leave. But, as with everything Hall did, he did it with 
grace and humor, with an enormous sense of risk — he lived for close to a year 
without a job in his future — and he did it with the kind of selflessness that came 
from knowing that his headship was no longer the most effective for the School. 

Hall gave the search and screen committee a full year to find a successor. He 
turned what could have been a depressing and distressing final year into one of 
activity and service. He and his wife Carol opened up their home to a talented 
young violinist from Ohio to enable him to continue his study at the Music Center 
while attending NSCDS as a high school student. Hall took on the presidency of 
the Winnetka Rotary with his characteristic enthusiasm. And he continued to work 
with the international student movement. 

The Farewell 

Indicative of the kind of energy he put into all of his projects, each summer Dick 
Hall would spend weeks thinking about and preparing his address to the faculty at 
their first autumn meeting: selecting the theme and, from the wide variety of 
reading he did during the summer, collecting ideas, stories, quotations and, yes, a 
few jokes. His last address, in September 1988, dealt with relationships. He had 
come to North Shore in 1979, in time to celebrate the School's sixtieth anniversary, 
and was leaving just before the seventieth. With such thoughts in mind and with 
an eye to the future, he said: 

It is at times of change that we really begin to look at what is important to 
us! I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about these issues, needless 
to say. I believe strongly that, from time to time, individuals and schools as 
well need change in order to bring clarity to priorities — to force us to focus 
on those issues about which we really care, so that we don't slide along into 
patterns that are not good either for ourselves or for the students that we 

serve The aspect . . . which I would like to bring to focus today has to 

do with relationships — not just any relationships, but some of the ones 

that are crucial to us as teachers If we all were to assume and 

remember that all our relationships could end at any time, would we treat 
them differently? 

(As an aside, 1 often have thought that Eunice Jackson lived her life with 
that kind of urgency.) Relationships aren't static; if we ignore them, or 
abuse them, something happens. How do we, in this School, care for them? 

. . . First of all: teacher to teacher. . . [T]he experience of children depends 
greatly upon the relationships of the adults. If we are working together 
well as adults, if we are people whose intellectual exchange is productive 
and in the interest of the students committed to our charge, our School will 
be a great school 


... All schools need to deal with the inevitable questions of whether any 
decision is good for adults in the community, and whether it is good for 

students. There can be a tension in those two interests Ed Yeomans, a 

former headmaster with long ties to North Shore, once said, "Unless a 
community is a good place for children, unless it can take care of their 
growth intelligently, it cannot stand any test of real fitness, no matter how 
many adult needs it may fill." ... I would simply add that a school is as 
good as the ability of its teachers to work together in the interest of their 

And finally to the most important set of relationships that exist in a school 
— between the teacher and the student. 

. . . We have chosen our careers, our profession, because we believe we can 
make a difference in each student's life. Everything else is incidental. We 
have only a short period of time with our students — and they will be gone 
and our oppportunity to make a difference will be over. There is an 
urgency about our relationship 

. . . We are headed into a future for North Shore in which there are 
uncertainties, where we will be discovering what is important to us, and 
which inevitably will help us to focus on those relationships surely 
ephemeral and sometimes behind the scenes which make this a really 
wonderful school. Already as I examine what the future brings for me, I 
become only more certain about the uniqueness of North Shore, of the 
vibrant set of personalities and relationships that make us proud to be a 
part of its family. . . . 

. . . Let's rededicate ourselves here and now to our common task. We have 
no time to waste. The job is too important. 

Au Revoir 

Over 300 members of the School family came together for an Au Revoir dinner for 
their departing headmaster and his wife on June 3, 1989. The Halls would be 
moving to Belgium where Dick Hall had been selected to become headmaster at 
the International School of Brussels. For months a committee had worked in secret 
to plan the grand farewell event. But it was Hall, with his keen sense of theater 
and ritual, who orchestrated the momentous announcement: the identity of the 
anonymous donors of the $1 million matching gift made in Hall's honor. By 
another remarkable coincidence, of the kind that punctuated the life of the School, 
the donors were also named Hall — Julie and Parker. In tribute to both Hall 
families (no relation to each other), the library was named the Hall Library. 


Richard Hall's Final Commencement 

A week later, June 9, 1989, Dick Hall gave out diplomas at his final North Shore 
Country Day School commencement, bringing a decade and his tenure to a close. 
For ten years he had greeted the parents and relatives in the flower-adorned 
auditorium on the warm June afternoon. For ten years he had listened to the 
speakers, both adult and student, whom the seniors had elected to make some kind 
of special statement for them. Once more he congratulated the Francis R. Stanton 
distinguished alumnus. For ten years he watched the young men and women walk 
out of the auditorium to embrace their families as well as what life had waiting for 
them, but he knew they would always come back to visit the School. This time, 
however, was different: he realized he wouldn't be there to greet them when they 
did return. 

• • 

Once more — as they had for seventy years before and would in years to come — 
the senior class walked out of the auditorium, the girls in white dresses, the boys in 
coats and ties. Tones of "Wake the Echoes" now gone, more enticing sounds drew 
them. But the echoes lingered: the stereo from the senior lounge reverberating at 
the south end of Dunlap Hall; the squeeky chirps of athletic shoes dancing around 
the two gym floors, no longer the "boys' gym" and the "girls' gym" but shared by 
both now; the animated voices in constitutional law class arguing a fine point in 
the First Amendment; Mr. Freisem's two-finger whistle piercing the air from the 
window over the student parking lot; the childish chant of Alexander's "terrible, 
horrible, no good, very bad day," responding to the headmaster's favorite story; 
and the peal of the big brass bell from its post next to the old Diller Street — today 
the front walkway — ringing out the school year . . . year after year. 

The class of 1989 poses for its picture just before the commencement ceremony. 



Perhaps most unexpected, the 1980s rediscovered the need to deal with 
"the whole child" — mind, body and psyche — as advocated long ago 
by John Dewey, whose Progressive views were long denounced 
as subversive of American values and sound education. 

Fred M. Hechinger 

With this wry comment, Fred M. Hechinger, New York Times education writer, 
sums up a decade of educational reform [NY Times, Dec. 20, 1989]. He cites 
published landmarks of the eighties and indicates briefly the major ideas of each: 

• A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 

1983) "asked mainly for more of the same — longer hours, an extended 
school year, more tests." 

• High School (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 

1984) "stressed the central role of 'language' — reading, writing, speaking, 
listening — and called for community service to be required." 

• Horace's Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School by 
Theodore Sizer (1984) linked "students' achievements to teachers' freedom 
to determine how to teach." 

• A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century (Carnegie Corporation of 
NY, 1986) recommended that teachers be carefully selected, highly trained 
and well-paid. 

• Turning Points: Preparing American Youth for the 21st Century (Carnegie, 

1989) advocated that all community forces join in caring for "the 
whole child." 

So, having made the journey from 1919 to 1990, we arrive back where we began: 
with the importance of "the whole child." Perry Dunlap Smith's vision of the 
1920s, 1930s and 1940s continues to be as fresh as that of the educational reformers 
of the late 20th century. Many of his ideas are now considered breakthroughs in 
educational theory and practice: parental collaboration, tying learning to the real 
world, educating for democracy and restructuring schools to fit the needs of 

Parent Collaboration 

Importance of Educating Parents 

Perry Dunlap Smith had realized the potential volatility of the progressive 
approach to education and therefore the importance of educating parents about the 


nature of their School. In the early days, this was done at frequent parent meet- 
ings. By 1939 Smith had initiated a bulletin for parents. Through his monthly 
essays, he kept them abreast of the latest theories of teaching and learning, of child 
psychology, and of the importance of the parents' role in educating their children. 
One of the primary requirements for admission, he reminded the parents every few 
years, was to understand thoroughly the nature and philosophy of the School and 
to support it, energetically as well as financially. Apparently his emphasis on 
parental involvement with the School was so unique that he was invited all over 
the country to explain it. 

Acceptance by the Establishment 

As if in vindication of Mr. Smith's rather radical view of parental collaboration. The 
New York Times in 1985 printed an article entitled "Schools Are Encouraging an 
Active Parental Role." Stan Salett, senior associate and co-founder of the National 
Committee for Citizens in Education, based in Columbia, Maryland and author of 
the article, emphasized the importance of parental participation in the wide variety 
of activities within the schools. The newpapers of the mid-eighties were full of 
such stories. Parental involvement in children's education is an idea which had 
now permeated the establishment. 

Tying Learning to the Real World 

Valued Skills 

An interesting experiment in education has been going on in New York City since 
1983 which raises issues that have concerned progressive educators in general and 
schools like NSCDS in particular since the 1920s. For both, teamwork and the 
ability to improvise are the valued skills: to the NYC experiment, because a grow- 
ing number of jobs are in the service sector, to the progressive educators because 
such skills lead to the fuller development of "the whole child." The New York City 
Board of Education has established a junior high school and six 
elementary and intermediate schools based on a model where these kinds of skills 
are being taught: the College for Human Services started by Audrey Cohen during 
the sixties to train disadvantaged women for service positions [Edward B. Fiske, 
NY Times, Nov. 22, 1989]. 

Most American schools, Ms. Cohen points out, reflect old values: knowledge is cut 
into subjects unrelated to each other and to real life; information is taught but not 
the ability to use it; competition and individual achievement are fostered, not 
cooperation and teamwork. Each of these old values is counterproductive to the 
work world today. For such reasons the NYC Board of Education undertook its 
experiment in selected public schools. 


NSCDS Experiments 

Perry Dunlap Smith too was aware of these problems. He worked with his 
teachers to develop core-curricula so that children learned by integrated experience 
— history, geography, mathematics, science, language arts — rather than by 
isolated rote. 

Under Mr. Smith, information was taught, but the ability to use it was stressed. In 
the early days such practical use took the form of "hand work" in the shop and the 
art studio, later in repairing plumbing and small appliances and at various times in 
running small businesses. At the end of the sixties and early in the seventies. May 
Project took seniors off campus to do internships in various professions. By the 
mid-seventies, the School had developed one of its most distinctive programs: 
Interim Week. This gave high school students — by working or traveling in small 
groups with faculty members or by doing internships — a time to explore in depth 
what could not be learned in the classroom. The Interim experience has often 
opened long-lasting interests and sometimes career directions. 

Cooperation and teamwork — not competition and individual achievement — 
have been essential to the North Shore vision. In Mr. Smith's day, it sometimes led 
to humorous situations such as the deliberate omission of names on the theater 
programs to avoid a "star" mentality. Contemporary parents who lack an 
understanding and/or a commitment to the school philosophy will periodically 
challenge this ideal and exert pressure to introduce honor rolls and other 
achievement awards. But the underlying cooperative spirit fostered by working 
together has remained an essential part of the nature of the School. 

Education for Democracy 

In 1990 American educators took on the challenge to help schools in Eastern 
Europe teach democracy [Susan Chira, NY Times, Jan. 25, 1990]. Under a project of 
the American Federation of Teachers, specialists from the United States were 
selected to work with Eastern European educators to "eliminate authoritarian 
methods of teaching and administration" as well as to revise curricula. The 
educators on both sides understood that method as well as content had to be 
democratic if the lesson was to be effective. 

Democratic Environment 

Perry Dunlap Smith also recognized that it did little good to teach democracy from 
a text book if the environment itself was not democratic. To that end, he 
encouraged the students to set up student government, to solve problems through 
Town Meetings, to take responsibility for school activities and to respond to global 
events in tangible ways. 


Restructuring Schools 

Common Themes 

By the end of the eighties, it had become evident to most reformers that simply 
adding more of the same — whether advanced courses, increased days of school, 
or additional tests — was not the answer. What was needed was a restructuring, a 
"perestroika," of the educational system. Reporting on the Baltimore meeting of 
the National Governors' Association and the Education Commission of die States, 
Edward B. Fiske of the NY Times [Feb. 14, 1990] pointed out several common 
themes for restructuring: decentralizing management of schools, measuring 
student progress in new ways, training teachers in a different and better way, and 
giving teachers new responsibilities. 

1. Decentralized Management. Independent schools have always had the 
advantage of decentralized management. Boards of Trustees, composed of 
parents in the case of The North Shore Country Day School, along with 
principals and headmasters, have functioned as a management team much 
like that now advocated in public systems. 

2. Measuring Student Progress. Student evaluation has been a continuing 
challenge at North Shore. The young children have never been labeled with 
grades. High school students have been evaluated with a variety of 
measures, everything from charts in the early days which measured the 
students against their own potential to the recent acquiescence to the A, B, 

C system to simplify college admissions. Narrative reports, however, rather 
than grade labels, have been the essential aspect of the evaluation system. 

3. Teacher Training. Better ways of training teachers was and continues to 
be imperative to the progressive movement. The Graduate Teachers' 

College of Winnetka was an excellent example of one such experiment. 

From 1932 until 1954 the GTCW drew students from all over the world 
and, in the process, made the village of Winnetka a landmark in the field 

of education. ^ 

4. Faculty Responsibility. A hallmark of progressive education has been 
faculty responsibility: for tailoring the curriculum to individual learning 
styles of the students, for structuring the courses to fit developmental needs 
of the particular group of students, and for being attentive to the intellectual 
interests of the students. For seventy years such has been the ideal of The 
North Shore Country Day School, sometimes successfully carried out, other 
times not so. 

Special Needs of Middle School Students 

Young adolescents have an intense need for intimacy and social identity, yet they 
are often channeled into large impersonal schools where they must change classes 


and rooms as often as nine times a day. To make matters worse, they are tracked 
by academic ability and, where that label is negative, often trapped by low 
expectations. In the late eighties, the Carnegie Report, Turning Points: Preparing 
American Youth for the 21st Century [1989], offered an antidote for these unmet 
needs: create within large schools smaller communities, each with a team of 
teachers who would form a close relationship with a limited number of youngsters. 
In addition, the Report advised, rather than tracking, use peer tutoring. 

The Human Scale 

Perry Smith made similar observations following World War II as he watched the 
rise of large consolidated schools around the country. Concerned with keeping the 
human scale in the children's environment, he emphasized the family nature of the 
School and the importance of older children interacting with the younger ones. By 
the same token, he saw value in quicker and slower students collaborating in the 
same classes. He believed that some of the most valid education took place when 
students learned from each other. This belief has caused no end of anxiety for 
teachers at North Shore. From the time of the sixties onward, the pressure at the 
high school level has been to accelerate the classes. During the eighties. Advanced 
Placement courses became firmly established, which by their nature demand 
intellectual segregation. 

Social Identity 

The nature of the campus, the structure of the buildings, the mutual use of the 
gymnasiums and athletic fields, and the all-school Morning Ex programs have 
helped instill in students a sense of individual identity within the School family. 
The enrollment, never exceeding 470 students — for die most part hovering around 
400 — has insured a human scale for learning activities. "Buddy-pairing" older 
with younger students on a one-to-one basis has encouraged interaction, integral to 
healthy family life. 

Keeping the Vision Alive 

The North Shore Country Day School has not been a utopia. It has been a 
demanding — often exciting — place to teach and learn, with its share of 
challenges and difficulties. In spite of its physical, geographical and social 
advantages, the School, like all human institutions, finds itself in a constant tug-of- 
war with that which would pull it toward mediocrity. 

Perry Dunlap Smith recognized this danger. When he retired in 1954, he once 
more warned the school family (June 1954 Notes): 

Such things as "the habitual vision of greatness" which Alfred North 
Whitehead states as the necessity of all moral education, must never be lost 
sight of. The necessity of keeping "all the avenues to the soul open and in 
use" by not leaving such essentials of self-expression as art and music and 


sight of. The necessity of keeping "all the avenues to the soul open and in 
use" by not leaving such essentials of self-expression as art and music and 
drama and creative writing to chance or to the child's election, but rather 
seeing that all children are exposed to these experiences every year is 
another vital essence of the School's life. The emphasis on learning for its 
own sake and not through fear of punishment or hope of ulterior rewards 
must be maintained. The desire to be of use to one's fellows, which is 
instinctive in all of us, must be given every means of fulfillment, certainly 
far more than that other instinctive drive to excel, to surpass, to conquer our 
colleagues and companions. 

If one listens to what educational reformers are now saying, the vision of Perry 
Dunlap Smith stands as relevant today as it was in 1919. But Smith's theories and 
their connection to the progressive education movement — detailed in this history 
of the School — were as new in that day to most of The North Shore Country Day 
School community as are the ideas of current educational reformers of the late 20th 
century to the American public at large. 

What happened to these theories that were so alive early in this century? In the 
case of The North Shore Country Day School, many of file ideas continued to live 
on in School traditions and came to be taken for granted. Some ideas were 
rejected, but many tended to get lost in the minutiae of everyday life. New 
generations came — teachers, parents, students — and then moved on. One-by- 
one, traditions were challenged and some of them dropped in response to 
changing times. Other practices have been maintained; they still resonate with the 
values of the School community. 

In our search for still better ways of teaching and learning, we should pause and 
listen once more to the voices of the past. We may well learn that today's 
challenges are not so new. And the means of dealing with them successfully were 
found long ago. 



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